The United Nations World Tourism Organization has just released an extensive new report designed to serve as a roadmap to promote inclusive tourism models in destinations around the world.
The 114-page “Global Report on Inclusive Tourism Destinations,” urges further action and deeper collaboration in the tourism industry to develop inclusive tourism, which the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), says benefits entire communities, travelers and tourism stakeholders, while also driving long-term sustainability in the sector.
“Not only do travelers themselves come from a wider spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds than ever before, but the tourism sector has expanded to reach into many communities in fast-growing and established economies alike,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization. “So by creating inclusive tourism destinations, projects, and activities in line with responsible tourism principles, we can enable all people to feel included in society and we can bring the widest possible range of socioeconomic benefits to tourists and locals.”
An inclusive destination, according to the new report is a destination that offers a tourism experience based on its own, singular attributes; transforms the industry by boosting its competitiveness; creates decent employment and promotes equal opportunities for all–especially the most vulnerable groups – to participate in and benefit from tourism activity.
All of which is important because creating truly inclusive tourism models in destinations around the world has the potential to effect profound change, particularly in light of the tourism industry’s size and economic importance.
Tourism, for instance, is growing faster than the global economy. Revenue from the tourism industry is expected to maintain an annual growth rate of four percent, which is well above the estimated annual global economic growth of 2.7 percent.
What’s more, one out of every 10 jobs in the world is in the tourism sector, and over the next 10 years, tourism will account for 23 percent of new jobs created.
A massive global industry, tourism accounts for approximately 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and total employment.
“With its excellent prospects for growth in the medium term, tourism is a strategic sector for countries all over the world,” states the report.
And perhaps nowhere is this truer than in developing countries, in which large proportions of the population are emerging from poverty and entering the middle classes, and where there is an urgent need to offer economic opportunities.
Destinations that are truly inclusive, according to the report, engage in the following efforts:
—Innovation in the tourism value chain.
—Opening up paths so that disadvantaged groups have a real option in tourism activity for economic and social progress as suppliers, employees and service providers.
—Creation of conditions that all the above to occur by promoting relevant actions.
Ultimately, the value of inclusion is that it adds to a destination’s competitiveness.
This is because the inclusion of all groups can help enrich a destination’s value proposition and because “the inclusion of disadvantaged groups leads, in the medium term, to a healthier society in which tourism enterprises have a greater capacity for growth and success,” states the new report.
“If well planned and managed, inclusive tourism has the capacity to help to bridge the gaps that exist in our global, connected society and ultimately contribute to minimizing social divides worldwide.”
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