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    Inclusive Tourism is an approach to tourism development that fosters links and interaction between the different actors in the industry. It involves encouraging partnership with and between private actors, stimulation of the local economy, integration of women, and involvement of local communities to better understand their needs and wants. It is a sustainable approach that involves environmental, social and economic factors.

    Data and Research

    Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing export sectors, contributing 5.9% of the global GDP in 2010. It is the main source of foreign exchange for one third of developing countries and one half of LDCs, where it accounts for up to 40℅ of GDP.

    Many developing countries and LDCs have opened up and invested in tourism development considering it a key driver for socio-economic progress. It has enormous fiscal value-added potential through linkages involving pro-poor activities. As a result, many developing countries consider tourism to be a vital component of their overall development strategies and policies. Such policies have been seen to be successful since the share of tourist arrivals in developing countries grew by 6℅ between 2000 and 2008.


    International Tourist Arrivals by Region (million)International Tourist Arrivals by Region (million)
    Source:  UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2010 by the World Tourism Organization

    As the graph shows, tourism is a globally booming sector. Tourist arrivals have increased in all the world’s regions since the 1970’s. Forecasts show that this trend will continue, especially in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and in the Americas. Tourist arrivals are also expected to grow in Africa and in the Middle East but at a slower pace. This shows that the ITP projects (mainly in Asia and the Pacific, in Latin America, and in Africa) are implemented in regions with great tourism development potential.

    Evolution of the contribution of Travel & Tourism to the GDP Source: World Travel & Tourism council/Economic Data search tool

    The above figure shows the evolution of the contribution of travel and tourism between 1990 and 2010, in some of the countries where the ITP is implemented. The contribution has increased substantially (as in the cases of Lao and The Maldives) or remained constant, which confirms the growing importance of tourism for the economies in those countries.

    Advisory Services

    The Inclusive Tourism approach means not only advising companies on how to source local products and services, but also how to implement field projects that will complement and spearhead the development of inclusive business strategies for hotels, tour operators and other channels in the market. Inclusive Tourism, among others things, combines ITC’s knowledge in dealing with poorer communities, with sector knowledge of tourism value chains, access to microfinance, packaging, mobile solutions, and the training of support partners notably to foster expansion and replication.

    In order to ensure the programme’s long term sustainability, the above-mentioned technical assistance is delivered in collaboration with selected local and international institutions (government ministries, international and local NGOs), tourism businesses (hotels and tour operators), associations for the promotion of agriculture, crafts and tourism, as well as enterprises who will continue to work towards the development goals set out, once the programme has been completed.


    The Inclusive Tourism projects provide farmers and distributors with technical assistance and training (farming techniques, management, logistics, etc) to improve their access to the tourism value chain and increase their income. The aim of the project in Benin was to develop sustainable tourism in Ganvié, Ouidah, Abomey by assisting poor local communities in offering products and services which meet the requirement of the tourism market. In Ganvié poor women were trained in hyacinth transformation technique to use them for handicrafts. In Ouidah locals were trained to manage and work in a refreshment bar displaying some unique local products and a fresco was painted to gather the City’s main events among other promotional tools around the Tourism Office and in Abomey a group of women was trained to produce biological soap that to be sold to hotels and tourists.


    ITP activities include studies on promising supply chains, market development interventions for specific products and sectors, training for public and private counterpart institutions in inclusive tourism methodologies.  Additionally, specific tools and training modules on the main tourism value chains have been designed to support project implementation and are used both in workshops and through specific intellectual property contracts conditioning their use.

    Up to now, ITP has launched six training modules: a training module for agriculture, one for hospitality management, one in the area handicrafts, a core tourism training module, an artistic cultural module, and an environmental management module.
     With the purpose of supporting the ITP Inclusive Tourism projects, ITC promotes a number of training workshops for relevant support institutions and shares information on approaches, tools, methodologies, and valuable experiences for implementing sustainable tourism programmes that reduce poverty. The workshops address key issues about the tourism sector such as global concerns of tourism and poverty reduction in developing countries and LDCs, improvement of local economic development, tourism value chains, improvement of market linkages for the poor in tourism supply chains, use of public-private partnerships in TPRP programmes, etc.

    In order to improve the skill base within government and private sector institutions to adopt sustainable tourism practices within their countries and to increase understanding of the importance of the tourism sector in reducing poverty, ITC organized workshops in Kigali, Rwanda on 25-27 January 2010 for African countries and another one for the Pacific region in Sydney, Australia from 27 September to 1 October 2010. These workshops were meant to support high representatives in the design of inclusive tourism projects. The training exercise was based on the ITP Opportunity Study Guidelines and increased understanding as well as put into practice ITP’s methodology.


    To achieve its goal TPRP works with United Nations’ and other agencies working on issues related to tourism, trade, development and poverty reduction. These organizations share their knowledge, support each other and sometimes work on “joint programmes” such as the ongoing project in Mozambique:

    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With the ultimate aim to reduce poverty, UNDP engages in global and regional advocacy and analysis to increase knowledge, build partnerships, mobilise resources, and promote enabling frameworks including international targets for reducing poverty. It promotes programmes supporting tourism development in developing countries to attain sustainable development.
    World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The UNWTO is a specialized agency of the UN and the leading international organization in the field of tourism. It serves as a ‎global forum for tourism policy issues, a practical source of tourism know-how and plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible and ‎sustainable tourism, paying particular attention to the ‎interests of developing countries.
    International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO is dedicated to bringing decent work and livelihoods, job-related security and better living standards to the people of both poor and rich countries. Through the Decent Work Country Programmes, ILO develops activities in hospitality, catering and tourism in different countries to improve the competitiveness and quality of the tourism sector. It signed an Agreement in 2007 with the UNWTO to cooperate in this field, considering it as an important vehicle for employment creation, development and elimination of poverty.
    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment and development issues. It promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It has several programmes dedicated to sustainable tourism such as the E-Tourism Initiative (to enable the developing countries to make the most of their tourism potential) or the Train for Trade programme (UNCTAD’s leading programme for training and capacity-building in the fields of international trade, investment, port management and sustainable tourism).

    ITP representatives are also extending their network in specialized fairs such as ITB in Berlin and the WTM in London where they can build partnerships with tourism professionals:

    ITB Berlin. As a driving force in the travel industry, ITB Berlin gives important impulses to a continuously growing market and is the leading B2B-Platform of all tourism industry offers. All levels of the value added chain are present: Tour operators, booking engines, destinations, airlines, and hotels up to car rentals.
    World Travel Market (WTM). Staged annually the World Travel Market is a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. By attending World Travel Market, participants efficiently, effectively and productively gain immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.

    ITP builds partnerships with several hotel chains to implement programmes in the surrounding areas of some of their hotels in selected tourist destinations. They’ll create local economic development by sourcing from the local businesses and will improve their competitive edge. TPRP is already working with Breezes Spa & resorts, Fiesta, Ibersostar, Mariott, Sixsenses and Tanoa.


    Since its inception, several projects have been conducted successfully, using this approach, on three continents: currently the programme is operating in Brazil, Jamaica and Colombia in Latin America, Senegal, Benin and Mozambique in Africa, and Lao PDR and Samoa in Asia. Some pilot projects have led to expansion and even nation-wide replication.

     The Inclusive Tourism Programme is ITC’s first fully integrated programme that incorporates Export-led Poverty Reduction methodology, product & service supply chains, and related technical expertise. It serves as an instrument for achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    Based on previous experience, it is realistic to estimate that between 1,500 and 2,500 poor women and men per destination will be able to directly improve their livelihoods as a result of TPRPs interventions, which represents approximately a US$8 impact for US$1 invested. The replication of TPRP projects is likely to result in a five-fold increase in the project’s impact in terms of the number of beneficiaries, thus further multiplying potential impact.

    The Coconut Coast has remarkable development potential for becoming an internationally competitive tourist destination. However, an integrated and sustainable development process requires governmental bodies, the private and especially service sectors as well as local communities to adopt coordinated policies in order to achieve synergies and achieve their respective objectives.

    In the early stages of this project, a demand survey, a community census and agro-industrial research indicated the productive chains to be analyzed and developed to integrate poor communities into the tourism value chain. Inspired by the EPRP methodology, the Imbassaí institute was created to develop and manage various projects encompassing the selected products and services, namely organic waste processing, fruits and vegetables, hospitality management, artisanal products as well as cultural activities.

    The project’s success reveals the key role of tourism as a launch pad for exports of the agricultural and handicraft sectors. In effect, achievements in terms of revenue generation, employment creation as well as improvements in education and literacy, reveal the potential for replication for the rest of the world. So far, not less than 3,000 jobs were created and revenues from sales of crafts have risen in average by 500%.

    The project’s current challenge is to replicate the success it has achieved so far in the area surrounding the seven municipalities, where 550,000 people, living in poor communities, face the inequality of development. The replication phase aims to ensure the sustainability of the already implemented projects and the development of new interventions. A significant new initiative is the Flour Mill House, inaugurated in July 2010 and likely to generate income for 60 families. Additionally, this initiative should lead to further revenues from the tourists and visitors attracted by the regional tradition of cassava processing. Another novelty is the School Kitchen Garden. The scheme is to involve families with an income level of less than 25 dollars per day, and will aim to disseminate well-known agricultural techniques as well as stimulate cooperation and community development. Following the remarkable results obtained with the first organic waste recycling plant, a new fertilizer factory with the ability to serve the entire Coconut Coast, is planned to be inaugurated in 2010, benefiting another 500 poor producers in the region. The project will maintain its training activities, enabling 600 people to benefit yearly from the diverse programmes provided by the Imbassaí institute. The training opportunities will allow the participants to apply for the jobs created by the tourism development on the Coconut Coast.