Economic crisis, tourism decline and its impact on the poor

Pulse Lab New York

Project Description

As part of Global Pulse’s “Rapid Impact and Vulnerability Assessment Fund,” the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) evaluated the direct and indirect impact of a decrease in tourism demand, as a consequence of the global economic crisis, on the employment of poor and vulnerable groups.

UNWTO and ILO had the overall objectives to a) explore what influence public policy measures taken across countries might have had in mitigating the impact of the crisis on demand and ultimately on employment, b) to assess the level of resilience of the sector to crises and tourism’s potential contribution to economic recovery and c) to assess segments (package tours, individual travelers, meetings), origin markets and industries along the value chain (travel, agents, hotels, incoming agencies, tourism related trade and other tourism related services) were most affected and had a higher impact in terms of employment of the poor and vulnerable.

The global economic crisis of 2008-2009 had a significant impact on international tourism, the most severe so far in the last decades. International tourist arrivals declined by 4% and international tourism receipts by 6%. In 2010, the sector rebounded strongly (international tourist arrivals grew by 7%) demonstrating the resilience of tourism demand.

While the tourism sector proved in some ways to be more resilient than other sectors of the economy, case studies revealed distinct vulnerable groups within the tourism sector in each country studied—in the Maldives, this included foreign workers; in Costa Rica it was primarily women and low-skilled workers; and in Tanzania it was workers with dependents who were hardest hit. Based on the findings, the study put forward a number of policy recommendations, including guidance on specific measures to mitigate the impact of future crises on poor and vulnerable groups dependent on the tourism sector.

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