The power of travel and tourism – how inclusive tourism can help to bridge the gap between social divides worldwide

Tourism by its very nature an activity that promotes inclusion. More than 1.3 international arrivals were registered in 2017, meeting other people from other cultures and leaving almost nowhere in the world untouched by the sector. Tourism helps to provide 1 in 10 people in the world with direct or indirect work, and as it grows each year is a living record of the positive, unifying power of our ever more connected, informed and outward-looking world. As the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) acknowledges, If it is well planned and managed, inclusive tourism can have the capacity to help to bridge the gaps that exist in our global, connected society and ultimately contribute to minimising social divides worldwide.


Summary:

  • A new report from the UNWTO, produced in collaboration with UNWTO affiliate member globaldit, presents a model for inclusive tourism destinations;
  • The ‘Global Report on Inclusive Tourism: Model and success stories’ looks at how tourism can function as a vehicle for sustainable development, and the reduction of poverty and inequality;
  • It highlights the need to foster discussion on and examine new approaches to inclusive tourism in order to drive long-term sustainability in the sector.

A new report by the UNWTO, produced in collaboration with UNWTO affiliate member globaldit, presents a model for inclusive tourism destinations. The ‘Global Report on Inclusive Tourism: Model and success stories’ showcases how tourism can function as a vehicle for sustainable development, and the reduction of poverty and inequality, in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report presents a model for inclusive tourism which refers to the capacity of tourism to integrate disadvantaged groups so that they can participate in, and benefit from, tourism activity. It highlights the need to foster discussion on and examine new approaches to inclusive tourism in order to drive long-term sustainability in the sector.

READ THE FULL REPORT – Find out more about the ‘model’ for inclusive tourism destinations and the UNWTO’s highlighted success stories.

DOWNLOAD:Global Report on Inclusive Tourism: Model and success stories

This model is described as a formula for practical and realistic public action that can be applied to different types of destinations and effectively a path towards inclusion that is adaptable, modular and scaleable, and facilitates the transformation of tourism models towards socially and economically inclusive models.

“As globalisation, interconnectivity and a growing middle class leads to ever more people travelling, the world will continue seeming to get smaller and inclusion will become even more of a priority,” says Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general, UNWTO. He believes the new publication “will serve as an important tool for the tourism community to create and promote inclusion in destinations, and a valuable reference for all tourism stakeholders in developing best practices for a more inclusive sector”.

But how do you define an inclusive tourism destination? The report explains it as “a destination that offers a tourism experience based on its own, singular attributes, transforms the industry by boosting its competitiveness, creates decent employment and promotes equal opportunities for all– especially the most vulnerable groups – to participate in and benefit from tourism activity, all in line with the principles of sustainable development.”

As the report finds, tourism and associated sectors, with their entry-level job opportunities in a wide range of economic areas, “can be crucial” for disadvantaged groups of society, enabling them to enter the labour market and “become empowered and more self-sufficient”. It highlights the Tarhiata 2021 programme in the State of Michoacán, Mexico; Bridging the Gap, township inclusive tourism in Gauteng, South Africa; Mekong Tourism Forum 2017 in Luang Prabang, LAO PDR – an inclusive and experiential concept for small towns; VisitScotland: The ScotSpirit Breaks; and CENFOTUR: Education as a tool of social inclusion in tourism among case studies of good inclusive tourism.