This year’s International Transport Forum Summit was held in Leipzig last week, and the head of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) took the opportunity to once again call for an embrace of biometric technologies for traveler processing.
While governments around the world are increasingly looking to such technologies as a means of improving border security, WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara Manzo’s concern is of a more practical business nature. Speaking at the Open Ministerial Meeting, Guevara asserted that the International Air Transport Association “is forecasting a rise from 4 billion annual passengers now to 7.8 billion over the next ten years,” while the World Tourism Organization expects “global international arrivals to rise from 1.3 to 1.8 billion” by the year 2030. “This growth poses a challenge not only to infrastructure capacity but also how to ensure these travellers can be processed efficiently and securely,” she said.
To meet that challenge, Guevara urges transportation authorities to work with the WTTC “to speed up the adoption of biometrics,” which will also “ensure that more jobs are created” in the industry.
It’s an argument that Guevara made earlier this year ahead of the WTTC Global Summit, when she highlighted biometric border screening as “the single biggest opportunity” for the travel and tourism industry this year. While it’s a new area that does bring with it certain risks, given the hostility toward biometric border screening on the part of civil rights advocates like the ACLU, it’s also one that is enjoying growing support from both governments and the private air travel sector. And with the head of the WTTC now a clear advocate of such measures as well, it’s a trend that could gain further momentum going forward from the 2018 ITF Summit.
May 28, 2018 – by Alex Perala