Poverty is a transitory situation rather than an unchangable stigma. Understanding poverty as a phenomenon that is the product of correctable causes allows us to address the problem from a more objective angle, moving away from moral judgments and paying more attention to the causes and effects of the problem from a systemic perspective.
Tourism must be a complement to other strategies and actions, both private and governmental, in the search for a solution to poverty and its most immediate and urgent effects:
“Among the different manifestations of poverty are hunger, malnutrition, lack of decent housing and limited access to other basic services. There is also discrimination and social exclusion, which includes the lack of participation of the poor in decision-making ”. (UN, 2015)
It is important that those of us who design, promote and operate tourism begin to collaborate directly with the people and communities in the destinations where we work, promoting decision-making and the active participation of locals throughout the process to promote true development. local. Investment in more inclusive tourism promises a greater offer of tourist services and greater professionalization in the sector.
According to the UNWTO. Tourism is the first or second source of foreign exchange for 20 of the 48 least developed countries in the world, “In some developing countries, especially small island developing states, tourism can contribute more than 25% of GDP. (UNWTO, 2016)
In addition to the potential for economic development generated in the destinations, there are other positive effects that tourism can generate in the destinations that are visited.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) published a paper in February 2021 entitled “Travel and tourism as catalyst for social impact” in which they share encouraging figures on the positive effects that tourism has on destinations, especially in the global context of the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The document refers to the generation of income for the destinations, but also details other positive effects generated by tourism such as gender equity in labor, the generation of wealth in the communities, the generation of employment and the promotion of local entrepreneurship.
Adventure tourism is a key sector for the economic development of less favored communities and the alleviation of poverty. We have to look for new ways of doing tourism by including sustainability and social impact criteria in all our activities, promoting fair and inclusive treatment, and collaborating directly with local actors in the design and operation of tourism in the country.
Tourism will find new ways to thrive and it is our job to do so in a more fair and sustainable way. We owe a great debt to our planet and our communities, we can generate better conditions for everyone, enjoy destinations, their culture and nature and make tourism a tool for development in our countries.
To review the WTTC document click here.
We invite you on March 11 at 11:00 am Mexico city time to a webinar with Virginia Messina Executive Director of the WTTC. who will share with us relevant information about the efforts behind the large-scale initiative led by the WTTC to demonstrate the positive impact and economic development generated by the tourism sector in the host communities and destinations; and the results that have been obtained so far, whose report “Travel & Tourism as a Catalyst for Social Impact” describes in detail. Register here.