Security Challenges: WTTC President Warns Leaders Against Closing Borders
…Says Travel And Tourism Sector Contributes $7.2t Annually,
President and Chief Executive Officer of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC,), David Scowsill has warned world leaders not to close their borders is not the solution to current security challenges in the world.
He gave the warning at the start of the organisation’s annual Global Summit, in Dallas, Texas.
“Don’t close borders in response to terrorism”, says WTTC CEO
According to him, “Closing borders and jeopardising the freedom to travel is not the answer to the current security concerns. World leaders need to stand together and act now, with the support of the Travel & Tourism sector.”
Scowsill told the assembled private and public sector delegates that, “The combination of global terrorism and an international refugee crisis is creating an unprecedented threat, but closing our borders and jeopardising our freedom to travel is not the solution. We have to prevent an overreaction from governments”.
He continued, “We live in an ever-connected world, brought closer by technology, multi-platform media, binding trade agreements and the sheer speed of travel. That same connectivity sees us witnessing the migration of peoples, on a scale not seen for decades. Navigating our way through and beyond the complexities of mass migration, embracing the possibilities while acknowledging the concerns, will be the urgent task of our global leaders now and in the future”.
He called on world leaders to prevent an overreaction from governments, stressing that the critical question is to understand is how they can keep our borders safe, while keeping those same borders open to business travellers and tourists?
He reminded delegates of the impact of the US border tightening after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which led to a ‘lost decade’ of tourism income that cost the United States some $600 billion.
WTTC, he stated advocates improving international intelligence and security agency cooperation, better use of technology and better communication as ways of combating the problem.
Such action, he stated would take global agreements and a commitment to sharing data something which can only happen with concerted international effort.
In his words, “World leaders need to stand up together and to act now. And it is our role as Travel and Tourism leaders to make that happen”.
Scowsill stated that the economic contribution of Travel and Tourism is clear and that globally, the Travel and Tourism sector contributes $7.2 trillion annually, almost 10 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP)and supports one in 11 of all jobs on the planet, an exceptionally resilient performance despite many challenges.
Highlighting, how the sector is force for good in the world, Scowsill said, “Travel and Tourism brings people together. It puts a smile on people’s faces. It alleviates poverty. It provides employment across all levels of society, and in some of the most remote places on earth. It broadens horizons and breaks boundaries.”