Facilitation of tourist travel is closely interlinked with tourism development and can contribute in a decisive manner to tourism’s beneficial effects, including economic growth and job creation.
While recent decades have seen great progress in travel facilitation all over the world, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) research shows that important areas for improvement remain, among them facilitating visa procedures and advancing air connectivity.
Easing visa restrictions to stimulate travel is one of UNWTO’s recommendations to promote the growth of the tourism sector and its positive impact on the economy. The Government of Mongolia is one of the most recent examples of countries advancing travel facilitation by removing visa requirements for citizens of 42 countries.
The Government of Mongolia recently granted visa free access to the country for up to 30 days for tourist and short business trips of citizens from 42 countries, in addition to the 20 countries already benefitting from visa free agreements. The decision comes at a time when the open skies resolution, passed by the Mongolian parliament in 2013, is also being implemented. The resolution is defined in the State Policy on Civil Aviation Sector up to 2020 and aims to develop a competitive national civil aviation sector, in view of its potential contribution to socio-economic development.
These and other key issues for the country’s tourism development were discussed on the occasion of the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Luvsanvandan Bold, to UNWTO headquarters where he met Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai.
“We are very happy to see Mongolia following UNWTO recommendations and taking concrete action in the area of travel facilitation,” said Mr. Rifai. “With adequate policies, tourism can have an immense impact on GDP, exports and jobs, and visa facilitation and air liberalization are central to maximize tourism’s development potential,” he added.
A report by UNWTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on the impact of visa facilitation on job creation through tourism, showed that improving visa processes and entry formalities could generate an extra US$206 billion in tourism receipts and create as many as 5.1 million additional jobs between 2012 and 2015 in the G20 economies alone.