Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

As the 2015 deadline for the UN Millennium Development Goals approaches, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) invites the private sector to help address these global challenges. Poverty, hunger, gender inequality and environmental degradation can be alleviated through the sustainable development of tourism and UNWTO is working with the industry to maximise the positive impacts of tourism worldwide.    

In 2010,  940 million tourists crossed international borders and worldwide international tourism receipts amounted to US$ 919 billion. Tourism represents 30% of the world’s exports of services (US$ 1 trillion a year) and 45% of the total services exports in developing countries.

Tourism generates wealth and can play a significant role in the achievement of the MDGs, in particular MDG 1 - eradication of poverty, MDG 3 - gender equality, MDG 7- environmental sustainability and MDG 8 - global partnerships  for development. As the United Nations specialised agency for tourism, UNWTO is committed to demonstrating the value of the sector while promoting tourism development that is responsible, ‎sustainable and universally accessible, paying particular attention to the ‎interests of developing countries.‎

Besides its impact on economic growth and sustainable development, tourism is one of the sectors better positioned to deliveron jobs, perhaps the single most common issue of concern at this time. Tourism creates opportunities for entrepreneurship and provides millions of direct jobs worldwide, as well as countless more through its multiplier effects on related sectors such as trade, manufacturing, construction or agriculture. It is already one of the largest employment sectors in many countries and a fast entry vehicle into the workforce for young people and women in  both urban and rural communities.

UNWTO is working with UN sister agencies, governments, the private sector and civil society to catalyse action and advance the tourism sector’s contribution to the achievement of the MDGs. In line with its Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, UNWTO has created TOURpact, a framework for Tourism Partnerships for Development, advancing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through international tourism.



UNWTO research shows that many companies are contributing to the achievement of the MDGs by integrating CSR into their business. Here are a few examples of CSR activities currently being implemented by leading tourism companies that relate directly to the MDGs. (Click on the image for a larger view)


Join the World Tourism Organization in working towards a more sustainable, competitiv e and responsible industry. Learn how by visiting our website and downloading the free 2010 edition of our publication Tourism and the Millennium Development Goals (click here).








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