015_Global12_InFocus_Tourism_5

Global issue 12

Global InsightSustainable Tourism creating over 5 million additional jobs by 2015. Visitors on the rise Progress is certainly being made in this area. In 2011 in the USA, Total international visitor arrivals 2012 a destination where such barriers have been a clear obstacle to tour- ism growth over recent years, President Obama signed an execu- tive order to increase tourism, boost the economy and create jobs, all by easing the visa process. Many other countries are taking ad- vantage of already available technologies to advance in areas such Full year forecast: as e-visas. Yet much remains to be done and visa facilitation is a 1 billion top priority for UNWTO. January-June: 467 million What would you say are the most important policy measures that poor countries can enact to promote UNWTO’s vision of sustain- ability and the elimination of poverty? UNWTO has developed seven ‘mechanisms’ that, when carried out, International visitor arrivals 2012 can help ensure tourism benefits the most vulnerable. These include (January-June 2012, by region) the need to 1) increase the level of people in poverty working in tour- ism; 2) ensure that goods and services in the tourism supply chain to reduce poverty; 6) encourage tourists to give back to the areas they 7% 8%Pacific:Africa:%5Asia and%4Europe:Americas:- come from local sources; 3) encourage visitors to buy produce and services directly from local communities; 4) support the establish ment of small, micro or community-based tourism enterprises; 5) redistribute tourism revenues earned by national or local government visit; and 7) ensure that new tourism infrastructure – roads, water, energy, etc. – also brings positive benefits to the poor. These mechanisms are integrated into all of UNWTO’s on-the- ground tourism initiatives. To date, over 100 projects in 34 coun- tries have been carried out, ranging from building a canopy walk- way through the forests of Laos to developing birdwatching tours Biggest growth in travel spending abroad in Cameroon. Some of our most successful projects have been (January-June 2012, by region) those that simply link up the local economy with the international ment through linking local businesses to hotels. China:%6%15Russia:Germany:%Canada:6USA:--- tourism market, such as in Nicaragua where over 50 local produc ers now supply fruit and vegetables to hotels in the Managua re gion, or in Honduras, where over 300 people have gained employ 9% 30% Do you expect the co-hosting by Zambia and Zimbabwe of UNWTO’s General Assembly next year will give impetus to those two countries in revitalising their tourism industries? The 2013 General Assembly will be our chance to send out the mes- sage that Africa has long been ‘tourism ready’ and that the sector is a huge opportunity for job and income creation across the continent. Source: UNWTO Africa has been a true tourism success story and currently re- ceives around 50 million international tourists a year, generating tourism. Only once people are made aware of tourism’s economic, $33 billion in receipts. At UNWTO, we expect international tourist social and environmental value will the sector be afforded the sup- arrivals to Africa to more than double over the next 20 years, reach- port it needs to realise its full potential. ing 134 million in 2030, significantly increasing the continent’s share of the global tourism market. What areas of focus and further initiatives can be expected in the coming years from UNWTO? What can be done to ensure that tourism is regarded more often as a While competitiveness and sustainability remain at the heart of solution to humanity’s ongoing political, economic, social and envi- UNWTO’s agenda and programme of work, there are within these ronmental challenges rather than as yet another source of problems? a number of more immediate priorities going forward. As I have While one billion international tourists are expected to travel in mentioned, travel facilitation is a key issue and an area of particular 2012, surprisingly few of these will be aware of their role as a tour- relevance as countries look to grow their tourism sector. Unbal- ist in creating jobs, driving economic growth and advancing devel- anced taxation, particularly on air travel, is also a major concern. opment. Fewer still will be aware that many of the natural areas The political recognition of tourism’s potential continues to be they visit have been protected precisely because of the economic a challenge. In this respect, UNWTO will continue, together with incentive provided by tourism. WTTC, to present heads of state and government around the world The tourism sector needs to continue to spread this message, but with an Open Letter on the impact of tourism, advocating for greater can only do so if it speaks with one voice, a veritable challenge support for the sector. So far, 38 heads of state and government have considering the many different stakeholders that make up the tour- received the Open Letter, and in all cases it has been a unique occa- ism community. At UNWTO, we are working tirelessly to bring all sion to draw their attention to the economic and social value of the tourism stakeholders together to change the current perception of tourism sector and the need for more supportive public policies. globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l15


Global issue 12
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