as a Sustainable Development Strategy
October 19-20, 2004,
The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
WTO Tourism Policy Forum marked the first time that donor agencies,
developing countries, and civil society have met together at a
high-level international conference to focus specifically on ways to
cooperate and harness the economic power of tourism for sustainable
by WTO and The George Washington University--chair of the WTO
Education Council--the forum attracted 200 participants and more
than 200 observers from 52 countries, including 20 tourism ministers
or top-level government officials.
Participating donor agencies included multilateral banks such
as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, as well as
bilateral development agencies such as USAID, DGSC/MAE Italy, AECI
Spain, DGCID/MAE France, SNV Netherlands, GZT Germany, CIDA Canada,
and JICA Japan.
forum opened on October 19 with keynote speeches by WTO
Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, Inter-American Development
Bank President Enrique Iglesias, and World Bank Vice-President James
Adams. All three
speakers stressed that properly managed tourism can be a powerful
tool for sustainable development.
But they also agreed that the complex, multifaceted nature of
the tourism industry presents special management challenges for
donor agencies as well as governments. Some challenges identified
were ensuring cooperation and communication among the diverse
tourism development stakeholders and developing analytical
measurement tools to evaluate the success or failure of sustainable
tourism development projects.
Iglesias also described the importance of tourism in the Latin
American region, where 54 million international visits per year
translate into 2.5 million jobs, or roughly 15% of the region's
workforce. Mr. Iglesias
also mentioned that although IDB has been involved in tourism
projects for 30 years, the focus has changed from big infrastructure
projects to more community-based projects.
Mr. Adams reported that in the past five years, the World
Bank Group has undertaken approximately 100 projects involving
tourism in 56 countries, representing 3% of the bank's total
investment. He also
stressed how tourism development is not only about economic growth
but also about conservation and social sustainability.
Finally, Mr. Frangialli reviewed WTO activities in the area
of sustainable tourism development, asserting WTO's intention to
lead a global partnership for sustainable tourism development to
help the developing world harness its tremendous tourism potential.
additional keynote speech was later delivered by USAID Administrator
Andrew Natsios, who stressed the need for community involvement to
ensure tourism is sustainable. He also underscored the importance of
capacity building, which he said represented the essence of
was followed by a tourism minister panel discussion, moderated by
Mr. Frangialli. Participants
included the tourism ministers from Lesotho, Nicaragua, South
Africa, Honduras, Andorra, and Jordan.
Some messages that were echoed by all participants were that
tourism is the most efficient sector for generating jobs and
economic growth, master plans need to stress long-term
sustainability and poverty reduction, and that legal and regulatory
frameworks for investors are needed.
afternoon session on October 19 included several important
announcements. First, a
Memorandum of Understanding was announced and signed between WTO and
The George Washington University for a new project called DANTEI
(Development Assistance Network for Tourism Economic Initiatives).
DANTEI is a website designed to increase communication and the
exchange of information about sustainable tourism projects.
the afternoon session, Eduardo Fayos-SolŠ, Head of WTO Human
Resource Development, discussed the value of knowledge management as
a key instrument for tourism policy and outlined the framework of a
WTO approach to Tourism Policy for Development consisting of (i)
building public/private partnerships for action; (ii) using
knowledge management as the main instrument in tourism for
development policies and (iii) creating strategic tourism policy
plans with development as the main objective. Some specific
initiatives such as a sustainability indicators study, an e-learning
programme, and a WTO Education Council volunteer programme were then
discussed during the WTO Knowledge Management panel that concluded
the activities of October 19.
this, Geoffrey Lipman, WTO Special Advisor, announced the creation
of the new ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty)
Foundation, which is set to begin operations next year.
ST-EP will finance new research and development projects that
link sustainable tourism to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
especially poverty alleviation.
The foundation, to be based in Seoul, aims to attract US$100
million in financing and sponsor 5,000 projects by 2015.
Dho of the Korean Culture and Tourism Policy Institute, which is
providing US$5 million in seed money for the ST-EP Foundation, was
one six panelists in a donor session held later in the afternoon of
October 19. She was
joined on the panel by Richard
Scobey of the World Bank, Paul McGinnis of Canadian International
Development Agency, Martin Tampe of German Technical Cooperation GZT,
and Don Martin of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
The session was moderated by Antonio Vives of the
Inter-American Development Bank.
focus of October 20 was on working group sessions organized
according to eight tourism development themes.
The themes of the four morning concurrent sessions were
Strategic Assessment Planning and Implementation; Decentralized
Governance and Community Capacity Building; SME Business Development
and Competitiveness; Natural
Resource and Protected Area Management.
The themes of the four afternoon sessions were Cultural
Heritage Preservation; Marketing
Sustainable Tourism Product; Rural
Development; and Financial Instruments and Enabling
each session, five or six tourism experts presented case studies. Next, session attendees divided into three groups, each
discussing an issue that was identified through a pre-conference
specifically, each group identified three important recommendations
related to their issue and then determined how and by which
organizations these recommendations should be carried out.
the afternoon working group sessions, a panel of tourism experts
from USAID, DGSC/MAE Italy, AECI Spain, DGCID/MAE France, SNV
Netherlands, and GZT Germany discussed their organizations'
tourism activities and avenues for future collaboration.
forum concluded with a reading of the Washington
Declaration on Tourism as a Sustainable Development Strategy by
University of Hawaii Professor Pauline Sheldon
and concluding statements by WTO Special Advisor Geoffrey Lipman.
Lipman pointed out the emergence of a new mindset among top
officials of the international financing institutions, who had
asserted that tourism can be the "entry point" to development in
areas like infrastructure and rural renewal. He also called upon all
participants to collaborate in order to leverage their strengths,
offering the WTO as reference point for the sector and focal point
for linkages with the Millennium Development Goals.
Tourism as a Sustainable Development Strategy
October 20, 2004
first international forum focusing on tourism development and
assistance met for the Tourism Policy Forum held in Washington DC
from October 18-20, 2004, convened by the World Tourism Organization
and The George Washington University, Chair of the WTO Education
assembly proposes the following declaration:
the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has recently become the United
Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, vested with a central role
in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and
universally accessible tourism;
the purpose of the WTO Tourism Policy Forum (WTO.TPF) is to convene
educators and knowledge management experts of the WTO Education
Council and other informed professionals, together with
representative government policy-makers and business leaders, to
focus on critical policy issues facing global tourism and to offer
recommendations for future directions;
200 delegates and 200 observers from 52 countries participated in
global consensus building activities focused on development
assistance issues and strategic recommendations;
into consideration that tourism is the largest industry in the world
today with significant economic, environmental and socio-cultural
impacts, requiring sustainable, knowledge-based policies;
into consideration that tourism is an increasingly important
development strategy to positively address poverty reduction,
economic growth, biodiversity conservation, and socio-cultural
integrity generally, as well as the UN Millennium Development Goals
that tourism can contribute to equitable redistribution of income
and liberalization with a human face;
also the active role of other United Nations agencies and their
assistance to developing countries.
that sustainable tourism development necessitates private and public
sector, donor agency and stakeholder cooperation and input;
that the measurement and monitoring of tourismís impact with
rigorous analytical tools and relevant indicators is crucial;
the importance of the WTO ST-EP program to bring sustainable tourism
development into the service of poverty alleviation.
We agree to the following:
To build partnerships of equal
opportunity and fair representation within destinations, and to
strengthen their leadership;
To engender local community
awareness of the tourism planning process and its benefits;
To foster buy-in for the concept of
sustainability by all sectors including the sharing of guidelines
and good practices;
To delegate the authority for
decision-making to the appropriate community level and build
capacity there, and empower local development authorities;
To encourage and facilitate brand
awareness and a collective image for a destination community;
To recognize the uniqueness of the
business perspective as different from that of the public sector and
to communicate effectively in business language;
To develop cross-sectoral
demonstration projects that illustrate linkages, inter-relationships
and working partnerships;
To call upon governments,
bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions to facilitate access to
capital of all kinds, and to provide guidance, training and support
on how to access such funding;
To develop land-use policies
through a participatory process, and to provide policy incentives
for private land owners;
To enhance communication and
coordination between agencies including the use of advanced
information communication technologies;
To develop educational programs directed to tourism
policy stakeholders including local communities to promote the
understanding of cultural/heritage resources, and the need for
preservation and social responsibilities;
To encourage the development of a
regional network of researchers, practitioners and donor agencies
for sustainable tourism development.
Therefore, be it resolved
These Forum findings and
recommendations will be reported to the relevant
bodies and WTO organs for consideration of further action.
The Forum delegates call upon aid donors and recipients, to
join together with government, private sector, universities and
civil society stakeholders to form a global network to enhance
tourismís potential to contribute positively to the
fulfillment of Millennium Development Goals.