Sustainable Tourism – A Catalyst for Inclusive Socio-economic Development and Poverty Reduction in Rural Areas

Tourism is an important driving force for inclusive socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

As one of the fastest growing and most resilient economic activities, it is a catalyst for job creation and can stimulate the development of infrastructure and public services. With tourism’s capacity to generateemployment, it has a major role to play in developing the often-overlooked potential of rural areas. Its significant multiplier effect across economic sectors – such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction and transport – can greatly contribute to both the economic diversification of rural areas and local economic development. The sector is, however, often characterized by serious decent work deficits. These include informality, low wages, excessively long working hours, lack of social protection and genderbased discrimination, which can be particularly pronounced in rural areas. It is therefore essential to improve the quantity and quality of jobs, promote rights at work, extend social protection, and strengthen workers’ and employers’ organizations in the tourism sector. This policy guidance note highlights the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s comprehensive and integrated approach in supporting the promotion of decent work in the tourism sector, as well as the sector’s potential to contribute to rural development, poverty reduction and sustainable development.