Travel and tourism is “the best industry partner for governments”, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) president and chief executive Gloria Guevara told industry leaders on Wednesday.

Addressing the WTTC global summit in Seville, Guevara said: “Our sector will generate 100 million jobs over the next decade, meaning one in four new jobs will be thanks to travel and tourism.

“Our sector is truly the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.”

However, she warned: “We can’t take these positive forecasts as a given. We are confronted by challenges that require coordinated global action and collaboration.

“How are we going to transport four billion additional air passengers? How are we going to minimise the impact of the next crisis? How are going to grow our sector sustainably.”

Guevara noted international travel and tourism grew by 3.9% last year, “ahead of construction, health care and financial services”, compared with 3.2% growth in global GDP.

She told the summit: “Last year saw 1.4 billion international arrivals and 4.4 billion people flying around the world. Factoring in domestic tourism, there were seven billion trips – and this is just the beginning.

“In a few years I don’t see myself travelling with a passport. The days of two-hour lines at immigration will be a thing of the past.

“Not long from now we will travel from the airport in a driver-less taxi, with a drone dropping off our luggage in advance.

“Virtual reality will enhance experiences at historical sites. Live language translation will mean we understand each other better. Data analytics will help manage flows of people.”

She said: “The future looks great. [But] if we don’t work on our future, growth could fail to materialise, impacting millions of jobs.”

WTTC chairman Chris Nasseta, president and chief executive of Hilton, told the summit: “Travel and tourism could not be in a better position.”

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