This PPT Information Sheet is intended to highlight the role of government in maximizing the poverty impact of tourism. It is true that tourism is an industry that is driven by the private sector, however there is much that governments can do to shape the way in which it develops and a number of different policy measures that can be used at different levels to enhance its impacts on the ‘poor’.
National policy framework
It is not just tourism policy that influences the development of the industry in any particular destination – in fact, many countries where tourism occurs do not have a tourism policy. Tourism influences and is influence by broader economic development strategies and sectoral policies. Ensuring the national policy framework supports Pro-Poor Tourism requires:
• Regional economic policies, rural regeneration policies, and local land-use planning that include a realistic assessment of the potential for tourism, and identified ways to develop it at priority sites. Devolution of rights and revenue fees across levels of government that provide incentives, not discouragement, for councils and local bodies to invest in tourism.
• A national economic policy framework that includes realistic assessment of comparative advantages of tourism.
• Coherence and effective institutional linkages between the tourism ministry or division and economic development ministries.
Poverty reduction strategies and other elements of a poverty programme that address how to make the structure of national growth more pro-poor, and increase investment in Pro-Poor Tourism measures are reported in Infosheet No 9.
Land policy in particular is critical. Communities with secure land tenure are in the strongest position to manage tourism on their land and gain the lion’s share of benefits. Pro-Poor Tourism case studies have shown that “extent to which economic empowerment of local communities takes place is intricately linked to the nature and extent of the land rights of those rural communities.” (see Pro-Poor Tourism Strategies: Making Tourism Work For The Poor, PPT Report N. 1, p. 42, 2001).
Land ownership, while desirable, is not essential – there are a number of institutional arrangements whereby communities can gain rights over tourism resources without necessarily owning land. The apparent fluidity of land tenure can be as important as the current status, as uncertainty deters private investment. A PPT case study in South Africa notes “for investors, the perceived risk of investing in areas with unclear land rights is high. Investors price for this risk which may impact on the anticipated financial returns from the project and thus benefit flows to the community” (see Practical strategies for Pro-Poor Tourism. Case studies of Makuleke and Manyeleti tourism initiative, PPT Working Papers N.2, p. 44, 2001).
This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.