Should tourism be promoted in developing countries?

published in September 2010
States, donors, commercial banks and private investors? Can it truly benefit developing countries by boosting growth and reducing poverty? What are the positive and negative impacts of tourism projects? Do they depend on the type and size of project?
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For over half a century now, tourism has been constantly expanding and at an even faster pace than international trade. This trend would today appear to be irreversible; the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts there will be over a billion international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2010 and 1.6 billion in 2020. Although developing countries still only hold a marginal position in international tourist flows, their performances are improving at a faster rate than the global average. For these countries – where economic activity is often based on a handful of sectors of activity -, tourism provides real potential for diversification. It provides valuable foreign currency exchange and government revenues through taxation and can be a major source of employment as well as a vehicle of economic and social progress.
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