13 July 2017

Tourism can make a strong contribution to the economies of Least Developed Countries where the sector is a major exporter concludes the report ‘Tourism for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries’ launched on the occasion of the Aid for Trade Review held in Geneva. The report was produced by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

Tourism represents 7% of all international trade and is of increasing relevance to the trade community. Tourism is part of services trade, accounting for 30% of the world’s trade in services. This is particularly true for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where it represents 7% of total exports of goods and services, a figure that stands at 10% for non-oil LDC exporters.  

In view of the above, and as shown in the report, tourism has been recognized as a key sector for trade-related technical assistance in LDCs. Forty-five out of 48 Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies analysed for the report feature tourism as a key sector for development.

Yet, despite tourism’s value in the trade agenda, it is often difficult to direct trade-related technical assistance towards the sector because tourism and trade tend to fall under different line ministries. Successful interventions in tourism require strong collaboration across government agencies as well as across different actors at the regional or local level.

The report aims to increase the commitment and investment in coordination and raise tourism’s prominence in trade-related technical assistance as to ensure the sector delivers on its powerful capacity to create jobs and incomes where they are most needed and for those who are most vulnerable, including youth and women.

As active partners of the EIF, UNWTO and ITC are working to contribute to this process of increased co-ordination and collaboration by joining forces in the design and implementation of tailored tourism technical assistance and tourism export strategies, and leveraging resources.

The report is launched to coincide with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to all the 17 SDGs.

Goal 17 sets as one of the targets a “significant increase of  exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020”, to which tourism as service export can contribute.

Tourism and the Enhanced Integrated Framework are include in Goal 8, aiming at building inclusive and sustainable economic growth and creating jobs, thus contributing to the structural transformation of LDCs.

Source: UNWTO 

Illustration Photo: Boats used by tourists to explore Tonle Sap (Great lake in Cambodia). The boats are driven by a very long shaft with the propeller at the end as the water is very shallow in places. The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: 1) its flow changes direction twice a year, and 2) the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. (credits: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

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