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Responsibility & sustainability in tourism: concerns in the context of liberalization policies Presentation of Tourism Services Workshop on WTO related issues for Government officials of SAARC countries New Delhi, May 2006 Tourism statistics & trends Fastest growing industry

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responsibility sustainability in tourism concerns in the context of liberalization policies

Responsibility & sustainability in tourism: concerns in the context of liberalization policies

Presentation of Tourism Services

Workshop on WTO related issues for Government officials of SAARC countries

New Delhi, May 2006

tourism statistics trends
Tourism statistics & trends
  • Fastest growing industry
  • Increasingly dominant role in 49 less developed countries
  • 694 mn tourist traffic1
  • Which rose by 23.8% (3.4 mn) in 2004
  • Earnings generated – US$ 4810 mn
  • India: contributed 4.9% of GDP
  • Supports 46.87 mn jobs – directly & indirectly2
thematic areas of conflict economy
Tourism is considered as an important development option for the purpose of:

Providing income & revenue; foreign exchange

Providing employment & augment livelihoods, through multiplier effect

Aiding in strengthening economies

Ushering in development

Thematic areas of conflict: Economy
thematic areas of conflict economy4
The actual scenario is that:

Leakages supercede incomes / revenues3

Offers low skill / pay jobs to local communities

There is a lack of support to SMEs

Creates dependency on tourism, which may be unsustainable in long run

Tourism development is privileged & gets primary beneficiary status

Indigenous & local communities, other marginalized groups become secondary or tertiary beneficiaries

Thematic areas of conflict: Economy
thematic areas of conflict environment
Thematic areas of conflict: Environment
  • Tourism has a track record of negative impacts
  • Current focus is on new tourism forms – “eco”
  • Tourism operates in an unregulated climate & inadequate policy regime
  • Sustainability is sought for tourism purposes
  • Whereas, there is denial of access to natural resources for local communities
thematic areas of conflict institutions
Thematic areas of conflict: Institutions
  • Constitutional provisions & contradictions
  • Dilution of powers of local governing institutions
  • Inclusion of scheduled areas (removal of trade barriers)
  • Inconsistencies with international covenants that recognize rights of indigenous & local communities
thematic areas of conflict society
Thematic areas of conflict: Society
  • Non recognition of impact of tourism on marginalized & vulnerable sections – women, children, indigenous communities
  • Non participatory mechanisms adopted in tourism development processes
gats on a hot tin roof
GATS … on a hot tin roof!
  • The GATS & tourism in brief
    • Sub agreement within the WTO-OMC
    • Aim: develop global trade rules in services, including tourism
    • Tourism: very important (125 / 148 members committed to have liberalized policies)
    • Very few limitations / regulations included in commitment schedule
gats on a hot tin roof9
GATS … on a hot tin roof!
  • The GATS & tourism:
    • Liberalization of tourism impacted by liberalization of other sectors as well:
      • Environmental services: water, waste management, landscaping
      • Transportation services
      • Construction services
    • Widening of inequities & imbalances
    • Failure to see linkages of local economy, livelihoods to natural resources and social processes
gats on a hot tin roof10
GATS … on a hot tin roof!
  • Benefits to communities not considered
  • Challenges faced by community initiatives
  • Dilutions of domestic regulations (trade barriers)
  • Conflicts with other MEAs – e.g. CBD
  • Acknowledges only national governments & there are no consultations with state or local governments
gats key questions
GATS – key questions
  • What is the urgent need to hasten tourism development?
  • Role of IFIs: local priorities, aspirations vs. mega plans
    • ADB SASEC Plan
      • Tourism a priority sector4
      • Significant progress made
      • Focus: branding, connectivity & joint marketing, infrastructure
      • Negligence on: sustainability, conservation & community participation
what needs to be done
What needs to be done …
  • Holistic development of tourism is required
  • GATS impact assessment studies need to be done
  • Democratic consultation & scrutiny of WTO positions & interventions by IFIs