UNWTO calls for fight against poverty

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said Tuesday that
2007 should be a critical year to consolidate tourism as a key agent in the fight
against poverty and a primary tool for sustainable development. Against a projection of continuing worldwide growth in international tourism of more
than 4% for international arrivals and revenues, Secretary-General Francesco
Frangialli called for renewed effort to include sustainable tourism in the
international development agenda, as a key tool to advance the Millennium
Development Goals.

He identified five major areas for consolidated global action:
? First: for Industrialized and Newly Emerging States to craft pro development
strategies and agreements which encourage tourism to the world’s poorest countries
to advance economic well being, social development and mutual understanding.
? Second: for Least Developed States to collectively recognize the impact and
potential of tourism across their economies, integrate it into national accounting
systems using the UN Tourism Satellite Account and place it at the heart of their
Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs.
? Third: for All States
o In acting within the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization, to
increase tourism commitments and provide specific tools to help poor countries use
tourism services to fight poverty and promote sustainable development.
In acting on Climate Change, to build a pro development element into tourism and
climate strategies, particularly for airline flights, taxation and emission trading.
In acting on Security Enhancement, to recognize the importance of tourism in
building understanding between people and to facilitate tourism links between
industrialized and developing states as well as providing the technology and
training support to poor countries.
? Fourth: for International Development Agencies - the World Bank Group, the
Regional Development Banks and National Aid Agencies, to place Tourism amongst their
key priorities for infrastructure and entrepreneurial support.
? Fifth for Tourism Stakeholders - public sector, private sector, non government
organizations, tourists and the destinations they visit, to embrace the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) and pursue sustainable and responsible practices laid out
in the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics.
Frangialli said that “mainstreaming tourism in the International Development Agenda
did not require such a great leap of faith. The tourism sector is the largest common
area of export income and foreign direct investment across the world’s poorest
countries. Tourism to these countries is growing at twice the rate of industrialized
markets. No sector spreads wealth and jobs across poor economies in the same way as
“In the UN, which is at the heart of the Development Agenda, we have a new
Secretary-General from a region that has recently seen summits with Africa in China
and Korea. Look at the difference the huge numbers of travellers forecast from India
and China in the years ahead could make in Africa and the Asia Pacific region.”
“It just needs imagination and political will. And the same holds true for the
industrialized states who should see their tourists as human development support,
with the additional benefit that they build bridges of understanding between
The Secretary-General said that the organization would intensify its actions to
support the sector, advance the MDGs and promote the Global Code of Ethics in the
years ahead. In this context and in order to help respond to the immediate
challenges and opportunities he announced that in 2007, UNWTO as the UN Agency for
Tourism would:
? Convene a World Summit on “Tourism and Religion”, hosted by the Government of
Spain, which will explore ways to strengthen the interrelationship between tourism
and the world’s great religions so as to further encourage peaceful development and
intercultural dialogue.
? Organize a second Summit on “Tourism and Climate Change” hosted by the Government
of the United Kingdom and in collaboration with World Travel Market. The Summit,
which will consider new international developments like the UK Stern Report and
President Chirac’s call for a post-2012 international climate change policy, would
be preceded by a technical conference and would build on the foundation of the 2003
UNWTO Djerba Declaration.
? Hold a Global Conference for Parliamentarians and Local Authorities, hosted by the
Government of Tunisia, to explore how tourism can more effectively encourage
understanding between nations and how its benefits can be more readily spread to the
community level. It will also explore how to enhance decision making between
different levels of government.
? Celebrate the role of women in tourism, linking its UN World Tourism Day theme of
“Tourism opening doors to Women” with MDG 3 promoting gender equality. Host of the
2007 World Tourism Day on September 27th will be the Government of Sri Lanka.
? Strengthen its ST-EP Program (Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty) by
consolidating funding partnerships with government / private sector sources, by
boosting the activity of the Foundation established in Seoul, Korea and by launching
new projects - particularly in Africa.
? Intensify its eTourism initiatives, together with Microsoft, to introduce an
Emergency Response System; operationalize the Windows on Africa Portal for
Distribution and Destination Management; explore ways and means to use technology to
increase Security and simultaneously reduce hassle for travellers: coordinate action
on tourism across the UN system.
? Launch its Centre of Excellence for Destinations in Montreal, supported by the
Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Quebec to promote and
support sustainable quality tourism at the community level.
? Consolidate its organization to respond to changing times, through its new
management leadership: restructured secretariat and by more active private sector
involvement, with a strengthened Affiliate program and expanded PPP network.
These challenges and opportunities will be reviewed at the UNWTO General Assembly
which will take place from the 22nd- 29th of November in Cartagena de Indias,