The need to have an holistic approach to financing of tourism for development was one of the key conclusions of the event held on the topic on the sidelines of the 21st UNWTO General Assembly. The horizontal nature of the sector and its many linkages to other activities along the value chain requires that the international community develops an approach to tourism financing that promotes cross-sector cooperation and solutions (Medellín, Colombia, 15 September 2015).
Opening the event, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, recalled that despite tourism’s role in promoting development, the sector is still underrepresented in aid flows as only 0.09% of total Official Development Assistance (ODA) and 0.78% of total Aid for Trade (AfT) disbursements were directed to tourism in 2013.
Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), stressed that tourism is trade and that countries need to advance towards tourism exports strategies that increase the retention of local value added and engage the private sector and civil society.
Mr. Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, South Africa and Chair of the UNWTO ODA Working Group, said that there is a development component which is inherit to tourism as a labour intensive sector.
Talking about financing of tourism in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Ambassador Yvette Stevens, Chair of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Board, highlighted the support provided to LDCs by the EIF in the preparation of integrated trade strategies, while Ambassador Dho Young-shim, Chair of the ST-EP Foundation, stressed the role of tourism in poverty alleviation.
Closing the event, the Vice-Minister of Tourism of Colombia, Sandra Howard, called upon UNWTO to gather Minister of Tourism and Ministers of Finance for a closer collaboration on tourism financing.
Speaking at the event were also John Perrottet, Global Lead for Tourism, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank Group; Maria Grapini, Member of the European Parliament and Former Minister for SME’s, Business Environment and Tourism of Romania; Marokon Alilee, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce, Trade and Ni-Vanuatu Business of Vanuatu, Pontus Ohrstedt, Chief of the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Colombia; Tatsuya Yanagi, Deputy Director, Team 2, Private Sector Development Group of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Michel Durrieu, Head of Tourism Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France; Klaus Lengefeld, Sector Leader Sustainable Tourism at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Germany; Assefa Kessito, Head of Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia; Zhu Shanzhong, Executive Director for Technical Cooperation and Services at UNWTO; and Márcio Favilla, Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations at UNWTO.