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Mar 9, 2023

Tourism’s potential outlined at LDC meet

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FA Correspondent

The UN Conference on Least Developed Countries held in Doha of Qatar has brought together world’s Heads of State, Governments, civil society organizations, entrepreneurs, students, youth and policy makers.

UNWTO was one of the participants in the conference in which several high-level events and thematic roundtable discussions were organized with sector partners, to help finance, build engagement and bolster sustainable long-term support for the LDCs.

The Doha meet came at the pivotal half-way point in the timeline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fully implement the 2030 agenda.

As tourism has been one of the key factors enabling the graduation of LDCs which are also Small Island Developing States, this sector accounting for 7% of total exports, and as much as 10% for non-oil exporting LDCs, tourism has proven its power to drive development.

The crosscutting and labor-intensive nature of tourism also creates links to many other economic sectors and positions it as a valuable contributor to national development strategies and support to entrepreneurs, the backbone of the sector.

In Doha, climate action, innovation, new financing mechanisms, education youth empowerment, digitalization, and capacity building issues were also raised.

UNWTO was also proud to announce the ‘Tourism for Development Fund’ for Least Developed Countries supporting projects in LDCs with at least €10 million until 2030 in collaboration with the TUI Care Foundation.

UNWTO also hosted a special side event on “Harnessing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Tourism as Tools for Sustainable Development in LDCs” with the support of Qatar Tourism.

Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said: “By 2030, Qatar Tourism aims to increase the number of visitors to the destination threefold to over six million visitors a year, increase spending by three to four times and grow the travel and tourism sector contribution to GDP from 7 to 12%.

Most importantly, we want to double employment in the tourism sector, all while continuing to position Qatar as a global leader in Service Excellence. To achieve this ambitious goal, Qatar Tourism aims to boost the entire tourism value chain, grow local and international visitor demand, attract sector investment, and drive a multiplier effect across the domestic economy.”

LDC5 represents a once-in-a-decade chance for the world’s most vulnerable to realign to global priorities. UNWTO is fully committed to accelerating the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action, by focusing on innovation, digitalization and new financing models to support Least Developed countries’ economic growth and graduation.