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Biometrics identified as key driver of global travel and security

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Biometrics identified as key driver of global travel and security

February 2017

Biometrics, digital security devices and other technology will be a key growth driver in the development of global travel security, according to new research from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

With the number of international travellers forecast to rise by 46 per cent to 1.8 billion per year by 2030, and a continued focus by governments on improving the safety of national borders, the WEF’s Digital Borders report argues that a combination of “innovative technology and international co-operation” will be the “best route” for ensuring tourism-related economic growth and border security.

The report calls for a “fundamental rethink” of the way people move across borders if the right balance is to be struck between meeting rapidly growing demand for travel and the need to improve border controls.

The WEF study highlights seven areas that need to be addressed:

Increase intelligence and data sharing between governments.
Provide advance passenger information, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2309 (2016).
Reimagining the role of the traveller in the security process through biometric profiling and other tech solutions.
Use biometric standards approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Expand multilateral agreements to incorporate harmonised requirements for traveller data.
Aim for a single application and single fee for travel security programmes.
Digitise everything. Over time, the whole process of border management should be wholly automated.

“Technological solutions are helping the global travel system move from physical to digital borders,” said the WEF’s Tiffany Misrahi and lead author of the report.

“Digital identification, biometrics, digitally enabled security devices and other tech-enabled screenings best increase accuracy, efficiency and security when travelling internationally.”

The WEF said another important consideration is the growth of the tourism sector - by 2030 the world’s 8.5 billion people will be taking nearly two billion international trips and a forecasted 86 million new tourism jobs will be created by 2026.

“Enhanced digital screening will enable the travel and tourism sector to continue to be a major driving force for economic growth and jobs around the world,” the WEF said.

“Travel promotes peace and prosperity,” said Arne Sorenson, chief executive officer and president of Marriott International and a contributor to the study.

“But the way we travel hasn’t changed much since the 1960s. Confronted with new challenges and opportunities, we need to revolutionise the journey using modern technologies to build a digital and inclusive system, trusted by travellers and governments alike, to connect us and keep us all safe.”

Find out more about biometric-based technologies available for license from Ploughshare

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