Visa facilitation can help create 2.6 million new jobs by 2016 for member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation in Bali , Indonesia , heard on October 4.

The estimation was released in a report by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) at the dialogue, which was held as part of activities preparing for the APEC Summit.

The event was a joint initiative of the host country Indonesia, the UNWTO and the WTTC, with the aim to strengthen the awareness and cooperation in the region in order to put forth specific action plans in visa and travel facilitation.

Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu, who is the Chair of the dialogue, stressed the importance of tourism as a source of employment and an impulse for economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

She noted that the challenge for the region now is to establish cooperation between officials working in tourism, finance, customs, security and transportation.

WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer David Scowsill said that his council is now working closely with UNWTO to promote visa facilitation through joint studies with G-20, the World Economic Forum, APEC and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).-VNA