Travel industry needs to understand pressure for border controls

Travel industry ‘needs to understand pressure’ for border controls

Former UK prime minister David Cameron delivered an uncompromising message to the World Travel & Tourism Council Summit in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Cameron told global travel leaders: “Your industry needs to understand the vast pressure on governments to deal with immigration.”

He said: “We need to ensure people continue to travel, but also have proper border controls & better technology.

“Do not underestimate the concerns voters have, and politicians have on their behalf, about the ability of terrorists to travel.

“You have to accept you’re going to see greater use of technology at borders.”

Cameron drew a sharp rebuke from the head of the UN World Tourism Organisation when he rejected “claims that you should not identify terrorism with Islamism”.

He told the summit: “The biggest threat to the world and to your industry is Islamic fundamentalism. Islamism is being used as a justification for slaughter.”

UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said: “It’s a big insult to millions of Muslims.

“I thought it was a slip of the tongue, but he means what he says. Anyone who puts the word terrorism with Islam or Islamism is doing a disservice to everybody.”

Cameron said: “We need to understand what lies behind unease about globalisation – and we need a serious course correction.

“Some people have fallen behind [economically]. A rising tide has not lifted all boats [and] we can’t leave people to fall further behind.”

He took a swipe at US President Trump’s proposed ban on travel from six Muslim majority countries, saying: “The biggest problem with President Trump’s travel ban is it could be seen as labelling whole countries as Islamist.”

But Cameron suggested it is unreasonable to expect a relaxation of visa controls, saying: “Your industry has to recognise that when visitors from a country no longer require a visa, it [the country] soon starts to be used as a transit route.

“The pressure is real and we need your help.”


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