UNWTO links up with IDB to boost tourism

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have deepened their cooperation on tourism development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Joint activities will focus on improving the measurement of tourism, strengthening governance, and promoting investment in the region.

The cooperation program, which will run until the end of 2012, got underway with a Workshop on Tourism Statistics for the Southern Cone Countries held in Montevideo in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay.

With the participation of representatives from tourism administrations, national statistics offices, and central banks, the workshop represents an important step towards increased coordination in tourism measurement.

The statistics component of the program aims to reinforce governance and tourism policy in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile by providing reliable and harmonized tourism indicators and data.

The project is part of both organizations’ objectives of improving national tourism statistics systems and accelerating regional integration. The statistics component further includes the development of a Regional Tourism Observatory.

In the area of tourism governance, UNWTO and the IDB will collaborate to set out a framework for tourism governance at the national and regional level. Special attention will be given to tourism promotion organizations.

The third activity is focused on the promotion of direct private investment, as well as on public investment strategies. Research will be carried out on the key factors driving private investment decisions including legislation, fiscal policy, credit lines, warrants, administrative procedure’s and capital movement.

In the area of public investment, UNWTO and the IDB will focus on the transversal character of tourism and the fact that most investment decisions, which impact the sector are taken by multiple areas of government.

The cooperation program between UNWTO and the IDB aims to contribute to the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean through tourism.

The sector is one of the largest and fastest growing in the region and plays a critical role in creating jobs, providing foreign currency, and generating and distributing wealth.

In 2010, Latin American and Caribbean destinations received around 74 million international tourist arrivals. In 2009, tourism to the region generated just over US$58 billion in international tourism receipts.