Eight of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have begun to assess their tourism development needs and pinpoint relevant funding sources at a workshop held by the United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD) (Geneva, Switzerland, October 18-20).
Representatives from the Tourism, Finance and Trade Ministries of Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Lesotho, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe, and Uganda came together with the nine UN Agencies that make up the SCTD at International Trade Centre (ITC) Headquarters in Geneva, to learn how to better work together to maximize tourism’s development potential.
“Tourism is one of the few economic sectors through which LDCs have managed to increase their participation in the global economy,” said UNWTO Executive Director Márcio Favilla, opening the workshop, “The multiplier effect of tourism is also particularly effective in the LDCs, where tourism expenditure generates additional flows of revenue and consumption for other branches of the economy such as agriculture, local fisheries, handicrafts, and the furniture and construction industries.”
International tourist arrivals in the 48 LDCs grew from 6 million in 2000 to over 17 million in 2010. In the same period, international tourism receipts climbed from US$3 billion to over US$10 billion.
The workshop, organized with the support of the Secretariat of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), a multi-donor program specifically for LDCs, allowed the countries to learn more about the EIF and how to best access the mechanism to develop their tourism strategies and action plans, as well as leveraging human and financial resources.
A break-out session of bi-lateral meetings between countries and UN agencies during the workshop helped to identify a number of specific tourism-related needs of the LDCs and match them with SCTD Agency capabilities.
The workshop builds on the momentum generated at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), at which tourism was included as a poverty reduction tool for the first time. It is now expected that the LDCs, with the support of SCTD Agencies as well as the EIF Secretariat, will be able to prepare project proposals by the end of 2011, for local approval and subsequent submission to the EIF Board for endorsement by mid-2012.