MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said tourism still receives limited attention as a tool for development despite its wide-reaching socio-economic impact.
UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said the sector is crucial for less developed countries (LDCs).
In 2013, 49 LDCs received 24 million international visitors and earned $18 billion from international tourism. “This represented eight percent of total exports of goods and services of LDCs, and 12 percent for the non-oil exporters among them,” Rifai said.
Tourism was in fact one of the main contributors behind the graduation of Botswana, The Maldives and Cabo Verde from their previous LDC status.
In the Philippines, the contribution of tourism to the economy was estimated at 7.8 percent in 2014.
Tourism cuts across different sectors of the economy and the tourism direct gross value added (TDGVA) amounted to P982.4 billion in 2014, higher by 14 percent compared to previous year’s P861.7 billion. TDGVA measures the value added of different industries in relation to tourism activities of both foreign and domestic visitors in the country.
Total earnings from inbound tourism in 2014 amounted to $4.84 billion, higher by 10 percent against the previous year’s earnings of $4.4 billion. In peso value, inbound revenues totaled to P214.88 billion, higher by 15 percent compared to P186.15 billion in 2013.
Despite being a high impact economic activity, a major job generator and key export sector accounting for six percent of total world trade, tourism receives only 0.78 percent of the total Aid for Trade (AfT) disbursements and a mere 0.097 percent of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA), the UN organization said.
“As we move forward to adopt a new sustainable development agenda, we have a unique opportunity to raise the level of assistance in tourism to further harness its vast potential for stimulating green growth and inclusive development worldwide, particularly for the countries most in need,” Rifai added.