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UNWTO to UNCTAD conference: „ More support for sustainable tourism needed"

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Apr 23, 2008

Tourism offers the only sustainable development opportunity to many developing and least developed countries. Consequently, UNWTO advocates the reinforcement of this sector’s role in assistance programmes and projects by mainstreaming tourism into general policies. This is the message delivered by UNWTO at the XII United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 20 - 25 April 2008, in Accra, Ghana.

“On the whole, developing countries are the principal beneficiaries of international tourism trade, achieving a surplus in their tourism balance of payments which can fund imports of food and energy resources, development plans, or contribute to debt reduction”, said UNWTO Director of Programme and Coordination, Eugenio Yunis, at the XII UNCTAD Conference. The Conference, attended by several Heads of State and numerous ministers from all over the world, addresses the implications that the current rise in food prices as well as the financial crisis in some rich nations may have on least developed countries.

Undisputed development potential

Tourism is today one of the leading sectors of international trade in services and one of the top export items for many countries. Since the year 2000, developing countries have led international tourism growth and reached a current market share of 40%:

• In 2007 international tourist arrivals reached new record figures close to 900 million, generating way over US$ 730 billion for recipient countries
• from 2000-2007, international tourist arrivals in developing countries increased by 54%, reaching 360 million;
• tourism growth in the 50 least developed countries increased by 110% between 2000-2007 (20% in developed countries).

Mainstreaming tourism development Against the background of the solid economic development potential of international tourism, UNWTO recommends the participation of local communities and other stakeholders in tourism development. This requires the active involvement and leadership of governments and the reinforcement of the role of sustainable tourism in the general development policy. “The successful implementation of tourism policies – focused on technical cooperation, development financing, or poverty alleviation programmes – is poof of the key support of this sector to sustainable development. Mainstreaming tourism policy into the broader development agenda represents therefore a further step towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals”, Mr. Yunis added. UNWTO encourages governments to play a vital role in tourism, in partnership with the private sector, local authorities and non-governmental organizations.

UNWTO to UNCTAD conference: „ More support for sustainable tourism needed"



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