A new USIP report examines how the $1 trillion tourist industry can help strengthen stability in developing countries.

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Summary

Tourism is a vital part of the global economy, generating roughly $1 trillion as parts of the developing world increasingly become popular vacation spots. In effect, the tourist industry can help create peace and stability in developing countries by providing jobs, diversifying local economies, promoting cross-cultural awareness, among other benefits. In a new USIP report, "Tourism in the Developing World," authors Raymond Gilpin and Martha Honey recommend how countries can maximize this industry’s potential by having a robust regulatory framework, investing in infrastructure and human capital, and reducing crime and corruption. Gilpin and Honey examine India, Kenya and Nigeria as case studies and draw lessons learned for other developing countries to build a thriving tourist industry that will also promote peace.

About the Report

This report examines the notion that tourism can help deliver peace and prosperity to developing countries by examining relationships among tourism, development, and conflict in three countries: Kenya, Nigeria, and India. The case studies were commissioned as part of the 2008 Travelers' Philanthropy Conference held in Arusha, Tanzania. The three-day conference was attended by 225 delegates from five continents. Nobel laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder and leader of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, gave the keynote address. USIP's Center for Sustainable Economies commissioned the case studies used in this report from participants attending the workshop.

Martha Honey, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), heads its Washington, D.C., office. She has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, travelers' philanthropy, and certification issues and holds a PhD in African history. Her books include Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? Raymond Gilpin is associate vice president for Sustainable Economies at USIP. He leads the Institute's work on analyzing economic relationships during all stages of conflict. He holds a doctorate from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

The authors are grateful for comments from Professor Timothy L. Fort, Lindner-Gambal Professor of Business Ethics and executive director of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility at George Washington University, and Marie Pace, program officer at USIP. Go Funai (research assistant, USIP), Richard Downie (consultant, USIP), and Bethany Wylie (intern from Stanford University with the Center for Responsible Travel) also contributed to this paper.

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