Tourism and rural development: the sustainability challenge

Tourism has become an important factor in economic growth and development among the rural poor. Instead of encouraging rural exodus, it enables them to benefit from cultural and natural assets. It is a very labour-intensive sector that provides opportunities for fair income, gender equality and social inclusion. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) stresses the sector's moral responsibility to adopt economic, social and environmental aspects as the three pillars of sustainability. In addition to addressing issues such as the fair distribution of benefits, safeguarding the social and cultural fabric of society and integrating environmental and ecological concerns, tourism has to involve and engage communities in order to be sustainable.

 

Taleb Rifai
Secretary-General
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Madrid, Spain
omt(at)unwto.org