LDC Export Diversification, Employment Generation and the 'Green Economy': What Roles for Tourism Linkages?

117 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2013

See all articles by Dale Honeck

Dale Honeck

World Trade Organization - Trade in Services Division

Date Written: December 13, 2012


'Pro-poor' tourism is arguably one of the best green options for addressing LDC poverty, employment and economic diversification initiatives. Although often neglected as a serious policy option - and consequently most of its potential still remains untapped - tourism is the leading export for at least 11 LDCs, and the 2nd or 3rd largest export for another 11 or more. It is also a major source of new employment, especially for women, youth and the rural poor in general. While difficult to measure accurately, tourism's pro-poor impacts are directly related to the achieved level of inter- and intra-sectoral linkages.

Taking export diversification, employment generation and the 'green economy' in turn, the working paper analyzes feasible LDC alternatives, reaching the conclusion (within the limits of data availability) that - in contrast with the current overemphasis on agriculture and manufacturing - green tourism is demonstrably one of the areas of greatest current comparative advantage and development potential for the majority of LDCs, via its extensive upstream and downstream linkages/multiplier effects, employment-generating and poverty alleviation capacities, opportunities for export "test marketing" of new products, sustainability, and largely untapped export opportunities.

An economy wide, primarily private-sector approach is an essential element for maximizing tourism benefits - including its multiple linkages with agriculture and manufacturing - together with a significant coordinating governmental role to minimize negative externalities. Unfortunately, there is no automatic guarantee that expanding tourism will significantly increase poverty alleviation or local employment generation: the necessary mechanisms must be explicitly included in tourism planning and implementation.

Keywords: LDCs, LDC graduation, export diversification, development, comparative advantage, employment generation, green economy, green tourism, pro-poor tourism, tourism linkages, cluster analysis, value chain analysis, poverty alleviation, MDGs, gender issues, FDI, GATS, Africa, Istanbul programme of action

JEL Classification: F13, F18, H54, H77, I38, J16, J21, J24, K39, L52, L83, O14, O19, O24, P45, Q26, Q54, Q56

Suggested Citation

Honeck, Dale, LDC Export Diversification, Employment Generation and the 'Green Economy': What Roles for Tourism Linkages? (December 13, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2212643 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2212643

Dale Honeck (Contact Author)

World Trade Organization - Trade in Services Division ( email )

154 Rue de Lausanne
CH-1211 Geneva 21
+41 22 7395149 (Phone)

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