“Biometric technology represents the future of travel. It will help us to make the traveller journey more secure and more efficient. I would like to recognise the work of ICAO in helping to introduce digital traveller identity processes into the traveller journey and encourage ICAO Member States to adopt them as soon as possible to avoid being left behind.”
That was the message given by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC during her opening keynote at the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Symposium in Montreal today.
For the last two years, the World Travel & Tourism Council, which represents the global private sector of Travel & Tourism, has placed the adoption of biometric technology at the heart of its agenda. This will allow travellers to move more efficiently and more securely across international borders thus helping to create more jobs and drive economic growth globally.
Guevara continued: “Today, over 1.4 billion people cross international borders for business or leisure purposes and billions more travel domestically. 4.4 billion air trips are made each year. In doing so, these travellers are part of a sector which contributes 10.4% of global GDP and 319 million jobs to the world. But our sector does not stand still and it is predicted that we will reach 1.8 international travellers by 2030 and 8.2 billion air travellers by 2037.
“The benefit of this travel is obvious – greater economic prosperity to a growing number of people – but it cannot be achieved with the current infrastructure. We must do things differently. We must adopt biometric technology and digital traveller identity processes at our borders.
“That is why we wholly support the work the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme and we urge ICAO Member States which are issuing ePassports to participate in the ICAOthe Public Key Directory (PKD) for exchanging the information required to authenticate and validate ePassports.
“WTTC is working with all the relevant industry stakeholders – including ICAO, IATA and the World Economic Forum – agree upon identification systems that are interoperable, aligned and can be used by the travellers at every stage of their journey from booking the trip, at airport check-in, boarding, car rental, hotel check-in and beyond.
“Through our Seamless Traveller Journey Programme we have consulted with over 200 industry stakeholders in the past year and found over 53 different initiatives and trials of biometric technology in the sector. The scope of this work is vital and necessary. There will never be a single biometric technology to cover the whole traveller journey but we must aim for “interoperability” where each company or industry chooses the preferred technology which can interface seamlessly with every other part of the journey.
“Aviation leads the world in adopting biometric technology in travel and ICAO sets the standards for aviation and related air transport facilitation. I salute the efforts of ICAO and urge all Member States to take all necessary to speed up the adoption of digital traveller identity and, subsequently, biometric processes."