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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

UNWTO Calls for Higher Financing for Tourism

On the occasion of the third International Conference on Financing for Development which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 13 and 16 July, the UNWTO called for higher support for tourism in international financing for development flows to maximize the sectors contribution to sustainable development across the globe.

Tourisms underrepresentation in international financing for development flows remains a critical hurdle to overcome in order to fully deploy its development potential. Despite being a high impact economic activity, a major job generator and key export sector accounting for 6% of total world trade, tourism receives only 0.78% of the total Aid for Trade (AfT) disbursements and a mere 0.097% of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA).

As world leaders gathered at the third International Conference on Financing for Development, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai recalled that tourism has been identified by half of the worlds Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as a priority instrument for poverty reduction.

For an increasing number of developing countries tourism means jobs, poverty eradication, community development, and the protection of natural and cultural heritage. Yet, in order to maximize tourisms contribution to the development objectives, it is critical to address the disparity between the sectors capacity to foster development and the low priority it has been given so far in terms of financial support in the development cooperation agenda, said Mr. Rifai.

Tourisms cross-cutting nature and multiple links to other economic sectors positions it as an effective multiplier in global development strategies as tourism often provides one of the few competitive options for developing countries to take part in the global economy. The sector is crucial for LDCs in 2013, the 49 LDC countries received 24 million international overnight visitors and earned US$ 18 billion from international tourism. This represented 8% of total exports of goods and services of LDCs, and 12% for the non-oil exporters among them. Tourism was in fact one of the main contributors behind the graduation of Botswana, The Maldives and Cabo Verde from their previous LDC status.

2015 is the year for action. As we move forward to adopt a new sustainable development agenda, we have a unique opportunity to raise the level of assistance in tourism to further harness its vast potential for stimulating green growth and inclusive development worldwide, particularly for the countries most in need, Mr. Rifai added.

Over recent years, tourisms ability and potential to drive sustainable development has been increasingly recognized tourism is identified by half of the worlds LDCs as a priority instrument for poverty reduction and is one of the six initial programmes of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) designed to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production worldwide yet the levels of financing for development in tourism are still comparatively low.

UNWTO, Tourism, Investment

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