ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM ORGANIZATION
Workshop on Expanding the Role of Tourism in Poverty Reduction
24 October 2007
Tourism plays a significant role in socio-economic development, poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Development of the tourism sector often leads to expansion of the economic base in both rural as well as urban areas, increase in foreign exchange earnings and greater opportunities for employment in countries of the Pacific. Tourism, based on the principle of sustainable development, furthermore could address environmental concerns while contributing to economic growth and social development.
The tourism sector, which is often composed of many small and medium businesses, is labor-intensive and often employs a relatively high proportion of women, youth and members of indigenous communities. As a result, the tourism sector often provides an opportunity to different communities to reduce poverty through diversification of their economies and rise in their standards of living. Tourism also could lead to economic growth in regions that may not have previously benefited from other types of economic activity.
To promote growth of the tourism sector, the linkages between tourism, development and poverty reduction need to be understood. A policy environment which ensures that tourism-related initiatives by both public and private sectors lead to poverty reduction also needs to be developed. This requires strengthening of human resources and institutions in each country as well as greater regional cooperation.
This workshop, which considers how tourism could reduce poverty and the measures needed in order to achieve this objective, is being held in line with resolutions 62/3 implementation of the Plan of Action for Sustainable Tourism Development in Asia and the Pacific, phase II (2006-2012) and the Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Tourism Development and 62/12 on strengthening Pacific island developing countries and territories through regional cooperation.