The 2009 Sustainable Tourism Report is predicting a dramatic rise in development tourism, particularly in Africa, as a drive by tourism donors to use tourism to achieve the Millennium Development Goals gains momentum.
The report says “Numbers of disadvantaged countries can, at least be assisted with development tourism, which, properly instituted, can help to generate quick and sustainable economic benefits. The natural partners for these activities are the various new forms of voluntourism and the movement for travel philanthropy. There is no reason why this activity could not address, even in part, the food, water and population challenges that less developed countries face.”
Voluntourism and Travel Philanthropy currently appear to be niche growth areas within the travel industry and under developed countries could certainly benefit from an influx of tourists who would not demand high quality accommodation and sophisticated services, but who would also provide assistance and bring much-needed foreign currency.
Donor-funded tourism development appears to be able to assist in the achievement of the following MDG’s:
• Poverty Eradication
• Universal Primary Education
• Environmental Sustainability
• Gender Equality
• Child Mortality Reduction
According to the Overseas Development Institute and the World Bank, tourism brings
• Direct effects – such as employment earnings (tourism is a labour-intensive activity and uses a high level of unskilled and semi-skilled labour). Tourism can be a big employer in urban, and coastal areas and, possibly the only one in rural areas.
• Indirect Effects – occur through the tourism value chain, including inputs through food and beverage, construction, transportation, furniture and many other sectors. This inter-sectoral impact adds an extra 60-70% on top of the direct effects.
• Dynamic Effects – tourism development can affect the livelihood strategies of local households, the business climate for small enterprise development, patterns of growth of the local or national economy, and the infrastructure or natural resource base of the destination. Tourism also tends to employ a relatively high proportion of women and to purchase products, such as food and crafts, produced by women in the informal sector – and, as a result, may be able to enhance women’s economic positions and help overcome gender barriers.
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