Tourism as a Key Sector for Development in Island States

Tourism is one of the principal economic activities in islands and therefore an essential source of job opportunities, livelihood, and inclusive growth for these destinations. For Small Island Developing States (SIDS), international tourism is of special significance and often represents a major source of foreign currency, while at the same time it is subject to specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.

The Conference will build up on the conclusions of the Conference on Sustainable Development of Tourism in Islands held in Reunion Island in September 2013 and shall serve as guidance to National Tourism Authorities and the international community as an input to the Third International Conference on SIDS, scheduled to convene In September 2014, in Samoa, and called for by the United Nations as a follow up to the Rio+20 Conference.

It will address a whole range of relevant issues for island destinations, from the competitiveness and sustainability perspectives, to regional integration, air connectivity, travel facilitation and risk management, to identifying specific challenges and vulnerabilities and examples of relevant actions. The Conference will focus mainly on the Caribbean scenario but will also provide an opportunity to share with the international community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learned for tourism in SIDS all over the world.

As a United Nations specialised agency, the World Tourism Organization has engaged, together with a series of partners, like the IDB, in initiatives aimed at promoting awareness of the role of tourism in sustainable development, including the special needs of SIDS. This comprises the production and dissemination of the UNWTO report Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States launched on the occasion of RIO+20 Conference.

The IDB has been and remains a strategic partner of Latin America and the Caribbean countries for the expansion of their tourism sector, as a tool for local development, through financial and technical support. With this Conference, the IDB hopes to consolidate a joint agenda highlighting tourism development priorities in SIDS and next needed steps to strengthen the positive impacts of tourism on local economies and communities.


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