UNWTO has welcomed the World Economic Forumís (WEF) focus on Travel & Tourism competitiveness as a valuable new research
process. It is a timely reference for states participating in the final stages of the Doha Development Round to provide proactive support for
developing countries to help increase their tourism competitiveness to reduce poverty and advance sustainability.
International tourism represents more than a third of all trade in services and it is the services sector which will provide the economic growth and
jobs in the decades ahead. It is here that the real returns and potential can be seen for the poorer countries and Least Developed Countries
(LDCs), where there is significant potential to create wealth and employment in rural areas, which concentrate the highest poverty rates.
Emerging destinations in developing countries have registered significant advances over the last years. In 2005, foreign exchange earnings
generated by international tourism in developing countries exceeded 200 billion US$, four times the amount earned in 1990.
According to UNWTO
between 1990 and 2005 developing states market share of international arrivals grew from 28.6% to 40.3%;
- tourism can generate up to 40% of the GDP and jobs of small island states;
for LDCs, (the 50 poorest countries - mostly in Africa) the rate of growth in arrivals from 2000 to 2005 was 48% which almost tripled the global
growth rate; and
- during the same period LDC international tourism receipts grew by 76% compared to worldwide growth of 41%.
ďThe index provides a useful strategic tool for measuring those aspects that promote the development of the Travel & Tourism sector in different
countries. The specific rankings reflect the overall competitiveness activity of the WEF itself over three decades. UNWTO is concerned about all
states improving competitiveness, which is a means to an end rather than an end in itself and must ultimately contribute to the kind of
socioeconomic goals sought in the Millennium Declaration and defined in our Global Code of Ethics As the Doha Round moves into its final
stages, there may be an important opportunity to increase tourism benefits from this process, turning the attention to the contribution of Tourism
Services to reduce poverty and increase sustainability, even ahead of other
sectors,Ē said UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman.
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