After the United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, governments worldwide have been growing their tourism industries to facilitate the alleviation of global poverty.
Year after year, the United Nations has seen an increase in money circulating in various countries’ tourism industries. However, these countries are some of the wealthiest in the world, among them the United Kingdom, United States and Germany.
The United Nations is working to increase the benefits of tourism in countries struggling with immense poverty, but it will not be easy. To accommodate tourists, a large amount of money—money that these countries do not have—will need to be spent on building and maintaining hotels, airports and other tourist amenities.
If these countries are able to build successful tourism industries, an abundance of jobs will be created and a large percentage of the profits can go directly to local communities living in poverty.
Samoa is an example of this progress. From 2005 to 2015, Samoa’s tourism industry grew from $73 million to $141 million. Samoa’s tourism industry had an impact on the alleviation of global poverty, as it ensured that visitor dollars resulted in local benefits.
Similar to Samoa, Ecuador, South Africa and Fiji are among other countries that have seen poverty relief as a benefit of expanding their tourism industries. The United Nations has played a role in the alleviation of global poverty by helping poor countries finance transport connectivity and facilitate infrastructure investment.
African countries have benefited greatly from the United Nations’ assistance with their tourism industries. Today, Africa’s tourism industries support more than 21 million jobs and have aided the alleviation of global poverty through sustainable development in struggling countries. The sustainable development seen in Africa relies on tourists making ethical travel choices. Tourists are encouraged to “go local” with food, craft purchases and tour companies when traveling in developing countries.
Tourism alone cannot end global poverty. However, if travelers, local companies and large organizations such as the United Nations continue to show their support for developing countries, the world will be one step closer to total alleviation of global poverty.
– Kassidy Tarala