Helping Communities through Travel
Tourism and Poverty: The facts
African tourism revenues are far bigger than aid budgets. In 2002 International Tourism receipts in Africa were $11.8bn (WTO). With responsible tourism up to 70% of the cost of a holiday, excluding flights, would remain in Africa. By comparison the US aid budget to Africa is just $674m. African tourism can grow significantly - Africa attracts just 2.49% (2002, WTO) of international tourist arrivals. By comparison Asia generates 19.97% of international arrivals. Africa - with 53 countries, 22% of the world's land mass, 690 million people, 1000 mammals, 1000 languages and more than 3000 unique tribal groups - attracts less than a third of international tourism receipts than Spain does ($11.8bn vs $33bn) For example, in tourism is 8.2% of GDP, and has grown over 1000% in the last ten years. Tanzania Tourism is labour intensive (only agriculture among major industries is more labour intensive) and therefore a very significant employer. Responsible tourism ventures often employ the economically marginalized, including women. Unlike other economic sectors tourism can be built from the assets of local people, such as their traditions, festivals, land and natural and built heritage. This, and the fact that tourists are often attracted to remote places, means that responsible tourism can potentially benefit the truly poor. Unlike many other economic sectors tourism is not subject to crippling export trade tariffs designed to protect Western economies. This is because the consumer (tourist) travels to the product (the tourist destination). Shiluvari Lake Side Lodge
Set in the heart of a nature conservancy on the banks of the Albasini dam overlooking the Soutpansberg mountains, you will discover Shiluvari Lodge. Nestling amongst centuries old Wild Fig trees with sweeping views of the Soutpansberg mountains, Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge is the ideal base to explore the diverse natural and cultural heritage of the "Land of Legend." Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge is situated in the heart of many varied world renown artists and local crafters – this diversity is amongst the richest in Southern Africa and we will gladly arrange a visit for you – a truly unforgettable experience. So, come and share our secret and join us in a truly memorable experience at Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge.
"Responsible tourism, that is more authentic tourism that maximises the benefits to local people whilst minimising any negative environmental impacts is the sleeping giant of the economies of many African communities. Compared to many other economic sectors (such as extractive industries) tourism is well positioned to benefit the truly poor, as it is their assets - such as cultures, land and wildlife - that people come to see. However without G8 countries ensuring that their tourism industries to Africa operate in a responsible way it's the same old story - Western and developed nations exploiting Africa for profit." Justin Francis Tourism and global warming Lets not mince words. Airline travel is the fastest growing cause of global warming. The government expects passenger numbers to double by 2030, by which time air travel will be the biggest contributor to global warming. In May Margaret Beckett said 'climate degradation and poverty feed off each other, and a predicted 4C rise in average temperatures in the centre of Africa will have devastating consequences.' So if we argue that the tourism industry in Africa can help reduce poverty, how do we deal with emissions from plane journeys by tourists? The airline industry can create more fuel efficient planes. The Sustainable Aviation Group (including BA & Virgin) aims to introduce new aircraft producing 50% less CO2 than 2000 models. These efficiency improvements will not however keep pace with the growing demand for flights. The airline industry must be further incentivised by the EU to reduce emissions by being required to buy permits to cover their carbon emissions (The European Emissions Trading Scheme) in 2008 or before. Money generated from purchase of permits - and from the existing air passenger duty - must be spent on sustainable energy projects that also benefit the poor*, as well as tree planting to absorb CO2 and fund research into renewable energy The cost of flights will go up as the airlines pass these costs on. These higher prices of flights will reflect the true cost (including environmental damage) of flights. This will reduce passenger numbers. In the meantime tourists can offset their emissions to become carbon neutral - by using a carbon calculator *The latest Climate Care project brings together sustainable development and poverty reduction, with ways to reduce carbon emissions & deforestation (forests absorb CO2) - The traditional open wood stove provides a vital source of heat and energy for some of the poorest communities across the world. Yet these stoves can have a devastating impact on the health of the women and children who gather around them - and for the local forests which are harvested for fuel, and absorb CO2. A new series of stoves that draw air into the combustion chamber generates a very clean burn, reduced emissions and deforestation. A crucial additional benefit of this is that smoke from the stove is drastically reduced.
Giving Communities the tools to attract travellers
It is now widely recognised that tourism constitutes one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world, generating 11% of World Domestic Product (605 billion euros in 2002), employing 200 million people world wide and transporting 700 million international passengers per year (WTO 2003a,b, Neto 2003, UN 2003). Forecasts by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) suggest that tourism will continue to enjoy an annual 4% growth rate, despite a recent slowdown, due to international terrorism and a downward trend in the world economy (WTO 2003b).
There is also a general consensus as to the industry’s potential to contribute to environmental and socio-cultural degradation as well as conservation. Tourism now constitutes a vital component of sustainable development plans and its local implementation tool, Agenda 21 (WTO 2001). Tourism is, however, struggling to be recognised as one of the most decisive tools of poverty alleviation strategies. As Mr Frangialli, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, pointed out after the collapse of trade negotiations in Cancun, “It seems to have been forgotten that tourism receipts represent a larger volume of world trade than agricultural food exports.” Indeed tourism is the largest export earner world-wide (WTO 2001), and the second largest in the least developed countries (LDCs) as a whole, where growth rates are also the highest (UN 1999, WTO 2003b).
Poverty eradication has recently been placed at the centre of both the World Sustainable Development Strategy, at the WSSD in Johannesburg and the United Nations International Development Agenda (UN 2001b, UN 2002b), but the current focus of sustainable tourism upon the environment and broad socio-economic goals may need to shift (Neto 2003) in order to “maximise the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty…” (UN 1999). Tourism may constitute a powerful stimulus for improving living standards and economic strength in the world’s least developed countries, which also tend to feature many of the eco-conscious tourist’s most valued resources, such as indigenous culture, pristine nature and warm climate. However it must be noted that these countries are also most vulnerable to the negative impacts of tourism, as previously unexposed nature and cultures may be altered drastically by the influx of tourism. In addition, the often non-diversified economies of the world’s LDCs may become dependent upon tourism and thus vulnerable to its susceptibility to shocks, changes in consumer trends and seasonal fluctuations. Thus, in order to promote tourism to the world’s poorest countries a sound understanding of the effects of tourism is essential.