IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac urged states to streamline global free movement of passengers.

Travel borders

IATA has called on governments to intensify efforts to spread the economic and social benefits of aviation by removing onerous barriers to the free movement of people across borders.

“Over the next 20 years, the number of passengers will double,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “That’s excellent news for the global economy, as air connectivity is a catalyst for job creation and GDP growth. But we will not get the maximum social and economic benefits from this growth if barriers to travel are not addressed and processes streamlined.”

There are many barriers to travel, ranging from visa restrictions and government information requirements to the capability to absorb the growing numbers of air travelers. 

Over the next 20 years, the number of passengers will double. That’s excellent news, but we will not get the maximum social and economic benefits if barriers to travel are not addressed

Research by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on the impact of visa facilitation, for example, indicates that $89 billion in tourism receipts and 2.6 million jobs would be created in the Asia-Pacific region alone with the reduction of barriers to travel.

IATA has evolved a comprehensive Open Borders Strategy that has four main components:

  • Review visa requirements and remove unnecessary travel restrictions. The solution to overly restrictive, expensive and inefficient visa regimes lies in unlocking the potential of shared information in a trusted framework. 
  • Include travel facilitation as part of bilateral and regional trade negotiations. Restrictive visa requirements are non-tariff barriers to trade and should be addressed in trade discussions.
  • Link registered-traveler programs. When registered-traveler programs are linked, as is the case between Canada and the United States, the efficiencies grow.
  • Use Advance Passenger Information (API) data more effectively. As governments have information in advance of boarding, inadmissible passengers should be notified before their journey begins, and arrival procedures should be streamlined for passengers whose data has been vetted in advance.