Tourism can make a strong contribution to the economies of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where the sector is a major exporter, concludes the report Tourism for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries. Launched in July 2017, the report was produced by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
Tourism represents seven per cent of all international trade and is of increasing relevance to the trade community. It accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s trade in services. In the LDCs, it represents seven per cent of total exports of goods and services, a figure that stands at even ten per cent for non-oil LDC exporters.
In view of the above, and as shown in the report, tourism has been recognised as a key sector for trade-related technical assistance in LDCs. Forty-five out of 48 Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies analysed for the report feature tourism as a key sector for development.
The report aims to increase commitment to the sector and investment in coordination. It seeks to raise tourism’s prominence in trade-related technical assistance in order to ensure that the sector delivers its powerful capacity to create jobs and incomes where they are most needed and for those who are most vulnerable – including youth and women.
The publication has been launched to coincide with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to all 17 SDGs.
One of the targets Goal 17 sets is a “significant increase of exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020”, to which tourism can contribute as a service export.
Tourism and the Enhanced Integrated Framework are included in Goal 8, aiming at building inclusive and sustainable economic growth and creating jobs, thus contributing to the structural transformation of LDCs.