This forum convened a variety of experts in the
field of sustainable tourism and featured a full day of presentations
by leading representatives of the global donor community who
presented their planned approaches toward sustainable tourism.
Natsios, Administrator, United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), Washington, D.C., USA stated that "astonishingly
in 2001, one in every twelve workers globally work in the tourism
sector." He reminded the audience that tourism is now 11%
of the global economy and, "tourism receipts are of critical
importance to many countries' balances of payment and general
Natsios stressed that "sustainable tourism does not simply
happen. It requires an overall strategy, detailed planning,
with a host of supporting mechanisms including public-private
partnerships, appropriate legislative and institutional reforms,
training and public education, infrastructure and technology,
finance and credit systems that reach down to the poor, and
continued monitoring and evaluation."
Natsios continued that "tourism must be based on real market
demands, not simply the supply of possible products associated
with threatened natural or cultural resources. Markets must
be engaged from the beginning." He also stressed the importance
of establishing strong indicators to measure the effects of
Adams, Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services
at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. stated that there has
been "global recognition that tourism can contribute more
to development strategies in low income countries."
Adams stated that the "World Bank's core
business is poverty reduction; tourism is a valid contributor
because it is an important source of employment, environmental
stewardship, and cultural preservation." "However,"
he notes, "tourism reforms are still slow in coming, governments
typically have not committed resources, accurate tourism statistics
and indicators of growth are elusive. There is a lot to be done
to improve government performance of tourism in developing countries."
According to Richard Scobey, of the Africa Division of the World
Bank, the World Bank has learned several lessons from its large
investment program in tourism development over the past 30 years.
He noted that the World Bank is now responding to past weaknesses
which included; undertaking investment without a comprehensive
national tourism development program, not paying enough attention
to public-private partnerships, and giving insufficient attention
to the community development and poverty reduction benefits
of sustainable tourism.
In response, Scobey states that the World Bank is now "deepening
its focus on strategy and analytics of sustainable tourism development."
Some examples include focusing on value chain analysis, tourism
demand studies, and competitiveness studies. In addition, he
noted that the World Bank is deepening its collaboration with
other partners to support the development of partner networks
to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing - particularly
private sector expertise.
INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Enrique V. Iglesias, president of the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. called tourism "a
most important sector," and stated that IDB is very much
aware of this sector's ever-increasing significance for social
and economic development in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
He also noted that IDB will continue to work alongside these
countries to improve the performance of this sector which can
contribute to efforts to fight poverty and promote sustainable
growth in the region.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information and background on the conference
see the conference
website. Interviews with leading representatives in the
donor community will be presented in upcoming reports on Eplerwood.com
Megan Epler Wood, the founder and former president of
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), has specialized
in donor policies and how they affect and influence ecotourism
business for over 10 years. She writes and edits the EplerWood
Reports which has just released A Triple Bottom Line
Framework for Sustainable Tourism for International Donors
after two years of international review to be published by Stanford
University in 2005.
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