Tourism is not Development Aid

Under the title “Entwicklungsfaktor Tourismus“ (“Development Factor Tourism“), the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) has presented a comprehensive statistical analysis of the money spent by German tourists in developing countries and emerging economies. The study shows how much was spent and on what, and it allows for a careful estimate of resulting employment effects. However it does not allow for further interpretations of relevant development impacts, says Antje Monshausen. The study shows that the equation “tourism = development“ cannot be supported. The findings on broad social and socioeconomic impacts are weak. Doubling the number of international tourist arrivals would increase the education index in a developing country by 0.02 points or would improve access to electricity by 0.7 percent. Income equality may improve at first, but seems to decline on the longer run. Considering all the details provided by the study, the impression prevails that equating tourism with development is rather called into question than confirmed. At the same time, the conditions under which the minor development effects are to be achieved, gives reason for worry. Doubling international tourist arrivals would mean an extreme increase of medium and long-haul flights. The damage done in terms of climate-related loss and damage, which disproportionately affects the poor, is not taken into account.

Entwicklungsfaktor Tourismus. Der Beitrag des Tourismus zur regionalen Entwicklung und lokalen Wertschöpfung in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern. Ed. Bundesverband der Deutschen Tourismuswirtschaft (BTW), Berlin, August 2015. 201 pages.

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