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Tourism a major driver of reaching development goals but it needs much more financing and investment

Tourism a major driver of reaching development goals but it needs much more financing and investment

That tourism holds much potential for Africa is widely recognised by international tourism promoters, seeing it as the one economic sector that can propel African communities in their drive to promote the continent’s sustainable development agenda.

Earlier this week at a gathering of the World Tourism Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, tourism’s unlimited future potential came under the spotlight again in a discussion titled “Tourism Financing for the 2030 Agenda.”

The discussion was held during the 2019 Global Review of Aid for Trade at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO). UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili began the discussions by highlighting the key role that the global tourism sector plays in economic growth and job creation.

Ministers, development partners and financing institutions need to better understand and recognize how tourism can contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Agenda. Tourism is explicitly mentioned as a target in three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (8, 12 and 14), though, as speakers at the Geneva session noted, for the sector to really realize its enormous potential, the amount of aid and development financing directed to tourism needs to be increased significantly. Unlocking tourism’s potential for realizing the 2030 Agenda requires a combination of effective and robust policy frameworks, enhanced private sector action, and an innovative approach to partnerships for development cooperation.

“This is an important time for both the tourism and the international development sectors,” said Pololikashvili. “Strengthening and unlocking aid flows for tourism will help the sector be a driver of job creation, as well as of social and economic development and economic diversity.”

“The UN’s World Tourism Organization welcomes the opportunity to join ministers, tourism leaders and our partners for these important talks here in Geneva. Working together we can harness the power of the new aid architecture and ensure that nobody gets left behind as tourism transforms lives around the world,” he concluded.

Aid for Trade Global Review 2019: “Supporting Economic Diversification and Empowerment.”


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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.