Sustainable tourism is no longer seen as a niche market but as a core contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable tourism has been included in targets to contribute directly or indirectly to the achievements of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of “Sustainable Tourism for Development.” In the lead up to the UNWTO Jamaica Conference, co-sponsored by the Government of Jamaica, World Bank and Chemonics and supported by George Washington University, it is an ideal time for us to commit to inclusion through tourism. Worth US$7 trillion dollars, the travel and tourism sector accounts for nearly 10% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), represents 11% of all jobs and 7% of the world’s exports in goods and services.
Tourism is particularly important for emerging economies. Tourism is the first or second source of export earnings in 20 of the 48 less developed countries (LDCs). In terms of inclusiveness, tourism has a wide supply chain that includes transport providers, construction workers, agriculture producers, craftspeople, microbusinesses, and many others. This gives the sector added value as a job creator, particularly in rural areas which may have few other options. Tourism is also one of the few sectors where youth and female labor participation is already above parity in some regions.
According to the International Labor Organization women make up between 60 to 70% of the labor force in the hotel sector alone. The relevance, inclusiveness, and potential impact of tourism within development underlines the need to foster discussion and examine new approaches.
This event brings together global thought leaders and proven achievers to discuss the impacts of the shared economy and new systems for measuring tourism’s development impact and competitiveness. The event is intended for planners, policy makers, and development professionals and will include expert presentations and a high degree of audience participation and discussion.