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This article is a quotation from the ST-EP program (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty) from UNWTO (World Tourism Organization)

The potential for tourism to play a significant role in the alleviation of poverty is increasingly recognized by international bodies and national governments. Its geographical expansion and labor intensive nature support a spread of employment and can be particularly relevant in remote and rural areas where many of the poor live. UNWTO statistics show the growing strength of the tourism industry for developing countries. In 2005, international tourism receipts for developing countries (low income, lower and upper middle income countries) amounted to US$ 203 billion. Tourism is one of the major export sectors of developing countries, and is the primary source of foreign exchange earnings in 46 of the 49 Least Developed Countries.

ST-EP programme: Background and overview of activities
At its Millennium Summit in 2000, the United Nations identified poverty as one of the biggest global challenges and set forth as one of its Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. The World Tourism Organization has responded to this challenge and opportunity by launching the ST-EP initiative, which was announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

Entitled ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty), the initiative focuses on enhancing the Organization’s longstanding work to encourage sustainable tourism – social, economic and ecological – with activities that specifically alleviate poverty, delivering development and jobs to people living on less than a dollar a day.

Following the launch of ST-EP, activities concentrated primarily on fundraising and raising awareness of the initiative. As a result of the initial fundraising process, a number of important donors and development organizations offered their financial support to the ST-EP Program with significant contributions. These included the Governments of the Republic of Korea, Italy, Macao S.A.R. China, and the Netherlands Development Organization SNV.

The contribution from the Government of the Republic of Korea was allocated for the establishment of the ST-EP Foundation, an international, non-profit umbrella body overseeing the ST-EP Program, based in Seoul. The initial contributions from the Government of Italy and SNV were allocated by UNWTO to undertake a series of pilot projects in order to identify and test various interventions to make the tourism sector work for the poor and achieve tangible impacts.

Through the ST-EP ‎program, UNWTO and the ST-EP Foundation have put in place a framework for poverty alleviation through tourism, which extends to a wide range of activities, including:

1. Capacity building seminars
2. Research and publications
3. ST-EP projects
4. Dissemination of information and awareness-raising

Read the whole ST-EP program at UNWTO

This article is written by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Cooperation and network, Development, Policy, Sustainability.

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