Box 2: Priority Issues for the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Travel & Tourism
We are in a period where governments realize the value of travel as a creator of jobs and a generator of growth. Yet, there is a higher expectation than ever before from consumers for affordable, accessible, convenient and sustainable travel. It is critical to envision what it will take to sustain travel growth (in excess of GDP) year over year.
In this context, and acknowledging the current geopolitical tensions, terrorism threats and the risk of pandemics, the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Travel & Tourism will take forward the work it developed on Smart Travel in 2014. It will consider what technological advances, innovations and infrastructure are needed at the local, national, regional and global level to facilitate travel while improving security, with a special interest in developing and emerging markets.
Specifically, it will envision a future ‘Smart Traveller’, empowered by technologies (Smart Visa) and enhanced trust relationships between governments and citizens that enable more data-sharing to facilitate travel with enhanced security.
At the same time, given the move towards regionalization and the advancements of agreements among regional blocs in establishing common policies—from ASEAN to the Pacific Alliance —the international community should encourage and enhance collaboration within and across regional blocks. There is a need to expand the audience on discussions surrounding freedom of travel from policymakers to travellers and potential travellers.
The council has also identified sustainability as a priority issue for the industry and its importance to achieve its growth targets. Indeed, sustainability is the industry’s permission slip to grow.
As such, the industry must be mindful of the implications of the significant forecasted increase of 31% in passenger air transport by 2017. While the economic benefits of such growth are clear, the repercussions on the environment and local communities are important to consider.
Although global climate agreements are a work in progress, the travel and tourism industry has taken active steps to reduce its environmental and sustainability footprint and plans to continue to do so, all the while implementing better measurement tools.
The Council aims to define a travel and tourism sustainability dashboard and develop some industry commitments on the basis of and in collaboration with the work undertaken by other international institutions, including ICAO, IATA, UNWTO, WTTC and ITP. By bringing together leaders from the sector, the Council aims to advance the dialogue on these issues and help set standards and targets for the industry.