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Published on Wednesday, November 1, 2006

World Bank to develop new Tourism Account

The World Bank is to collaborate with tourism development researchers at the UK-based Overseas Development Institute in a study that aims to establish a methodology for measuring the impact of tourism on the poor.

The World Bank/ODI study aims to establish how to measure the distribution of tourism expenditure in the national and local economies of developing countries and establish from a public sector perspective what kinds of policies and infrastructures are needed to enhance income flows to local populations. It will also establish from a private sector perspective what kinds of operational business models minimize leakages and maximize linkages.

It is understood that the work will be split into three stages beginning with a literature review, followed by recommendations for new analysis framework. Finally, the new methodologies will be tested in two countries.

The new World Bank/ODI method aims to deliver a much more effective and sensitive tool for tourism development. Although this may have specific benefits for the poor, it may well have many other, broader, applications.

Furthermore, we understand that the World Bank is seeking a much more precise definition of "Sustainable" tourism rather than the woolly descriptions currently in use. How much higher are the income flows that are released by "Sustainable" rather than "Mass" tourism - who do these income flows benefit, and how can they be monitored and targeted? Precisely what other cultural and environmental benefits does "Sustainable" tourism accrue, where are these benefits focussed? Creating these definitions and monitoring mechanisms would set enormous challenges but will be commensurately rewarding and beneficial to World Tourism as a whole.

Valere Tjolle

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  • Good idea

    This is an excellent idea from the World Bank and ODI. That said, to give the initiative a greater chance for success, it would be helpful if the World Bank and other financial institutions made detailed and timely information available on their websites about tourism investments. Far too many of these good-intentioned programs are being conducted behind closed doors without public access. We would like to see an index of current investments and an evaluation. Otherwise the data will be as suspect as the tourism satellite accounts.

    By Ron Mader, Monday, November 13, 2006

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