UNWTO calls for higher support for tourism in international financing
In light of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 13th to 16th July, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has called for higher support for tourism in international financing.
Despite its extensive socio-economic influence on the world, the biggest obstacle the tourism industry faces is being underrepresented in international financing.
A major job generator and key export sector responsible for 6% of total world trade, the tourism industry is a crucial player in the world economy. But the industry currently receives a shocking 0.78% of the total Aid for Trade (AFT) expenditure and a mere 0.097% of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA). Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Mr. Taleb Rifai reminded the world leaders gathering at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that the Least Developed Countries (LDC) depend mostly on tourism as a means of 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 maximise tourism’s contribution to the development objectives, it is critical to address the disparity between the sector´s 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.
Tourism is highly linked to all other sectors of an economy and is therefore an effective multiplier in global development strategies. Tourism is also one of the few options that allow an LDC to take part in the global economy and is, in fact one of the main contributors behind the growing of small ex-LDC’s like the Maldives, Botswana, and Cabo Verde.
“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 country’s most in need” concluded Mr. Rifai.