FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 June 29

WTO goals; any point?  

We will still look to the World Tourism Organization for leadership for in the visitor business, not obfuscation.  It says that 2007 “should be a critical year to consolidate tourism as a key agent in the fight against poverty and a primary tool for sustainable development.” Sorry, obfuscation. Why ‘critical’?   

The WTO calls for “renewed effort to include sustainable tourism in the international development agenda, as a key tool to advance the Millennium Development Goals” viz:

[] For Industrialised and “Newly Emerging States”. “To craft pro-development strategies and agreements which encourage tourism to the world’s poorest countries to advance economic well being, social development and mutual understanding.” 

While we are not sure what an NES is, is WTO asking states to promote travel to (how-many) “poorest” countries? The bottom 10 are Chad (poorest) then Cambodia, Bhutan, Tanzania, Gambia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Niger, Nepal, Mozambique. Or does WTO mean something else?  And we also note that Bhutan wants (really) to shun economic measures and concentrate on a Gross National Happiness index, so drop it from WTO’s list?

[] For “Least Developed States”. To “collectively recognize the impact and potential of tourism across their economies, integrate it into national accounting systems using the UN Tourism Satellite Account and place it at the heart of their Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs”.  Yes, but we do not understand why they need to do this collectively.

[] For all states. “In acting within the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization, to increase tourism commitments and provide specific tools to help poor countries use tourism services to fight poverty and promote sustainable development.   “In acting on Climate Change, to build a pro development element into tourism and climate strategies, particularly for airline flights, taxation and emission trading.   “In acting on Security Enhancement, to recognize the importance of tourism in building understanding between people and to facilitate tourism links between industrialized and developing states as well as providing the technology and training support to poor countries.”  Cannot fault all that, although parts are meaningless, viz “…pro development element [for] tourism and climate strategies…” even if they sound good.

[] For International Development Agencies – the World Bank Group, the Regional Development Banks, National Aid Agencies. To “place tourism amongst their key priorities for infrastructure and entrepreneurial support”. Faultless.

[] For “tourism stakeholders – public sector, private sector, non government organizations, tourists and the destinations they visit”. To “embrace the Millennium Development Goals and pursue sustainable and responsible practices laid out in the WTO’s ethics code.  

We suspect many, like us, do not know all the MDGs or WTO’s ethics code. We would ask for that ethics code, but suspect that it is full of long WTO-speak meaning “be considerate when you travel”.  

The WTO goes off track again, though with its head asking us to consider “…the difference the huge numbers of travellers forecast from India…could make in Africa and the Asia Pacific region.”  A trip to his own statistics department would show him India might reach the Netherlands’ current total in 10 years. Again, we point this out because we look to the WTO for leadership, but much output risks being little more than publicity-puff-points.  

Yet the WTO does create opportunities that may bring about social and economic improvements. This year these include a Tourism & Religion summit in Spain, the second Tourism & Climate Change summit in the UK, a conference for parliamentarians and local authorities in Tunisia, and more.

The Fox