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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
25 juni 2005

May your holidays be happy, also for the poor

Tourist travel to developing countries is on the rise. The year 2004 showed some 760 million arrivals, a growth of ten percent since the previous year. Although tourism may potentially be a large economic power, poverty is not solved by simply sending tourists. In The Gambia, for instance, over forty percent of the money spent on holidays leaks out of the country, as is shown by recent research of two bachelor students of the Fontys University in Eindhoven. And the remaining sixty percent does not necessarily lead to equitable development. "What we need is dedication, strong policies and a commitment by the private sector to show corporate responsibility towards the local communities and workers," as Eugenio Yunis, director sustainability of the World Tourism Organisation, puts it. Both Eugenio Yunis and Adama Bah last week addressed an audience of tour operators and development organisations, gathered in Wageningen to discuss ways to increase the net benefits of tourism to poor people. Yunis, employed by a UN-organisation that embraces the Millennium Development Goals (calling for halving global poverty by the year 2005), urged the tour operators to adopt a pro-poor business strategy. In tourism this means creating employment, training local people in the entire supply chain, monitoring the effects, partnering with international and government bodies and taking measures against leakage. The mission of World Tourism Organization has already attracted eager partners in The Netherlands, like the SNV - Netherlands Development Organization, working with branch organisations of tour operators to make poor people benefit from tourism. A new initiative is arising together with the Vietnam Administration of Tourism. As off next year, the Dutch development organisation Cordaid will support projects for sustainable tourism in three Latin American countries. P+ Webtip: Sustainable Development of Tourism