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Two hospitality giants – Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International – addressed global business and travel industry leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos to urge governments to move quickly to adopt “Smart Visa” policies which stimulate global travel, create new jobs and spur economic development. The two companies represent more than 7,000 hotels in 90 countries, which include 600,000 employees at these owned, managed and franchised properties. They are working together with the World Economic Forum Governors for the aviation, travel and tourism industry to promote global action toward “Smart Visa” policies regionally by 2015 and globally by 2020.

Smart Visas refer to safe, secure and sustainable solutions that promote mobility, maximize the use of technology, and expand programs that facilitate travel while removing process inefficiencies caused by arduous visa requirements. As a result of Smart Visa policies, more data is collected and shared across borders, creating enhanced security, efficiencies that reduce government spending and a better customer experience.

“In 2012, the UN World Tourism Organization reported that more than one billion people traveled outside their borders – a tremendous catalyst for global commerce and new jobs,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “We are here at the World Economic Forum to tackle complex and challenging economic, social, environmental and political issues. Enabling greater international travel is the low-hanging fruit that can create significant economic growth and employment.”

“Smart governments are thinking about international travel and tourism as trade, and they are doing everything they can to remove barriers and be more strategic in addressing visas and other access issues that discourage people from traveling and doing business,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International. “While we recognize that security remains a top concern, we call on the world leaders here at Davos to be visionary about a future world of interconnected markets where moving travelers more easily will allow more people to see the world and result in 2 billion world travelers in the next decade.”

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