Tourism can be a powerful tool for reducing inequalities within developing countries and leveraging community development that benefits local people.
REDUCING INEQUALITIES WITHIN COUNTRIES
One of the key benefits of sustainable and responsible tourism is that many countries, even those with developing and emerging economies, are more likely to invest in infrastructure, urban renovation projects, and rural development in order to achieve a flourishing travel sector. Due to the increased level of impact investment, local citizens are also able to benefit from these improvements and prosper within their own communities. Let’s take a closer look into some of the major ways sustainable tourism benefits local economies by reducing inequalities within developing countries specifically:
Local employment and fair wages: There is more economic inclusion for local people through access to employment directly within tourism or related industries such as within hospitality, hotel management, food, and similar services
Indigenous and local citizen’s rights are acknowledged and prioritized: Instead of being pushed to the side, the rights of indigenous people and the local community are given value. Oftentimes, they can be ignored and their land taken away from them in order to make space for tourist related centers and services. Sustainable and responsible tourism ensures that this exclusion and unfairness does not happen and indigenous voices are at the forefront of each experience.
Generates funds that can be reinvested in community development projects: In this way, sustainable tourism acts as a tool for generating and providing funds that can increase household income, accelerate children's education, and benefit the environment. These benefits support the resident population along with reinvesting back into development programs.
REDUCING INEQUALITIES BETWEEN COUNTRIES
Tourism provides a dual advantage for our world’s Least Developed Countries (LCDs). Not only are internal inequalities based on race, gender, and finance put at the forefront and addressed within these countries due to sustainable tourism practices, but the inequalities between countries are also mitigated. This can be traced to the fact that tourism opens up ample opportunities for developing countries to actively be part of the broader, global economy. Developing countries oftentimes have unique cultures, lifestyles, heritage sites, nature, authentic cuisine, and innovative impact initiatives that provide one of a kind experiences and knowledge learning that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Thus, the growing interest among travelers to visit new places and have culturally immersive group experiences that expand their global awareness allows developing countries to gain more value and benefit from tourism.
OVERCOMING CERTAIN SETBACKS
It is also important to realize that there is still a long way to go in terms of practices that have traditionally been followed in the industry and excluded certain groups from reaching their fullest potential or being more active in the tourism sector. One area we need to work on is the differences correlating between gender and employment levels within tourism. Although they are able to earn an income and have jobs, local women who work in tourism are often involved as low skilled laborers, artisans, cooks, shop or restaurant owners, housekeepers, cleaners, and similar types of employment. These roles are often under compensated and do not provide much room for growth so that the women can elevate in their career path if they would like to.
Thus, two things the industry needs to incorporate moving forward are fair wage pay between genders, greater opportunities for women’s leadership in the field, and skills learning and community programs that can help interested women learn valuable skills in language, business management, and entrepreneurship so that they can reach their goals as well as determine how they want to contribute working within tourism.
HOW WE ENSURE ACHIEVING SDG 10: REDUCED INEQUALITIES IN OUR TRIPS
In alignment with SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, we also ensure that we reduce inequalities by working together with our nonprofit partners to reinvest into the local
economy. At The World Within Us we partner with nonprofit organizations that are committed to protecting the planet and reaching equality, whether it is advancing Nepali women’s decent employment and leadership inclusion in tourism with our partner “Seven Women” or amplifying the voices and knowledge of indigenous communities in Bali with the environmental and cultural preservation nonprofit, “Mother Jungle.” We also reinvest 15% of our funds directly into our nonprofit partners’ work - thus ensuring everyone is able to benefit equitably from sustainable tourism.
This article was co-authored by our founder, Anina Monteforte.