|A publication of the Asian Development Bank||No. 1 June 2008|
Cover stories •
new publications •
in focus •
from the field •
Tourism: Promise for the Poor
Tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, and has been an integral part of economic development strategies in developing nations since the 1960s. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), tourism contributes over 2% of gross domestic product and 5% of exports to the economies of 11 of the 12 developing countries that are home to 80% of the world’s poor. The tourism industry’s potential to generate foreign exchange earnings, attract international investment, increase tax revenues, and create new jobs has served as an incentive for developing countries to promote tourism as an engine of growth.
In recent years, tourism’s role in poverty alleviation has been slowly recognized among development agencies. “Pro-poor” tourism development strategies are geared toward generating net benefits for the poor. Nowhere is this promise more evident than in Asia. Asia has been the fastest-growing tourism market in the world for the past century, according to the WTO, with the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand being the main destinations.
How does one extract the most value for the poor? An Asian Development Bank study says that tourism is pro-poor if it provides economic gain; employment; opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises; infrastructure such as improved access to potable water, communications, roads, and improved health and education services; protection of natural and cultural resources; and opportunities and capacity for the poor to improve their livelihoods. •
|© 2013 Asian Development Bank|