According to data collected by the United Nations World Tourism Organizations (UNWTO), developing countries have seen significant gains in both the number of tourists visiting those nations and the amount of revenue generated from visitors over the past decade. In many of those countries, tourism ranks in the top three categories for economic development, demonstrating that travel can play a vital role in helping developing economies mature.
These findings were revealed at a recent United Nations conference on developing economies, with the study revealing that the 48 least developed countries saw the number of travelers rise from 6 million visitors in 2000 to over 17 million in 2010. Perhaps even more encouraging however, is that the revenue generated from those visitors rose from $3 billion to $10 billion.
The UNWTO is hoping that these findings will give developing nations the incentive they need to build a sustainable tourism industry. Tourism is already proving that it can be a driving force in creating new jobs and building a more dynamic economy. Discussions at the special conference centered around just that, with a focus on creating good governance and sustainability practices in tourism; promoting investment in a tourism based economy; nurturing poverty reduction through tourism; and developing methods for training a sustainable work force. Attendees at the conference also discussed ways of protecting their considerable natural and cultural assets as the numbers of visitors rise as well.
It is interesting that despite the harsh global economic climate over the past few years, emerging economies across the planet have continued to see a significant increase in the number of visitors and revenue generated from them. This bodes well for countries looking to improve their economy, and tourism is now seen as a very viable way of climbing out of poverty.
That is definitely something I can put my travel dollars behind.