Ministers and Authorities Stress Benefits of Community-Based Rural Tourism
Peru, a country
known for its rich cultural heritage and offer of authentic tourism
experiences, was the ideal backdrop for this month’s high-level
meeting of Tourism Ministers and Authorities, focused on the theme “Community-based
Rural Tourism: Agenda for more competitive and sustainable
development”. The XXIII
Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of
concluded in Lima with authorities’ recognition of this emerging
approach to tourism as a mechanism to combat extreme poverty and
promote economic growth with social inclusion in the Americas.
Minister of Trade and Tourism of Peru at MINCETUR, Magali
Silva, noted that the Andean country had developed
community-based rural tourism as a public policy since 2007, with
important achievements and many lessons learned to share with its
hemispheric counterparts. Hence
the relevance of the focus given to the promotion of community-based
rural tourism, not only at the high-level meeting held on September
3 and 4, but also as the central theme of the work of Member States
over the next two years, during which Peru will Chair the OAS
Inter-American Commission of Tourism (CITUR).
Emphasizing the relevance of the
Ministerial’s theme for the entire region, Executive Secretary for
Integral Development, Amb. Neil Parsan, highlighted in his opening
remarks that “the
Government of Peru has
made an enormous contribution to the peoples of the Americas by
placing the issue of community-based rural tourism on
theagenda for sustainable tourism in the region.” He further noted
that the dialogue and exchange of experiences among member states
are essential “to drive the development of policies that support
emerging components and the diversification of the tourism product
in our countries.”
Travel and Tourism is an important sector in the
Americas, with a total contribution of 8.4% of the gross domestic
product and 9.6 % of total employment, as reported by the World
Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in
2014. Moreover, and beyond its macroeconomic impact, experience
shows that community-based rural tourism promotes the social
inclusion of populations that inhabit remote areas, many of which
have tourism potential based on their rich cultural and natural
One such successful example was presented by
Cristina Suaña, a Peruvian entrepreneur who over 10 years ago seized
an opportunity to host a couple of foreign tourists in her native
island on Lake Titicaca. “From there, I decided to continue with
this project. Today, I am very well known in my community and in
other countries. I managed to expand my business through my
perseverance and thanks to the training provided to me by MINCETUR"
said the community leader, owner of Uros
Khantati to a local
news outlet. Many other successful experiences, programs,
and policies were shared at the high-level meeting that gathered
over 200 participants representing governments of the Americas,
international organizations, the private sector and academia.
of Lima adopted
at the meeting, outlines the reflections and guidelines to move
forward in promoting community-based rural tourism in the Americas through
hemispheric cooperation and sustained multilateral efforts. Most
importantly, through the Declaration, Authorities approved the “Medium
Term Strategy to Enhance Tourism Cooperation and Competitiveness in
following-up on the mandate given at last year’s Ministerial meeting
in Bridgetown, Barbados.
This 5-year strategy provides a vision of the work of the OAS’
CITUR, as well as a framework for its organization, execution and
monitoring of activities, programs and projects.
The Declaration also establishes
that the OAS’ Hemispheric Tourism Fund (HTF) shall finance, among
others, “initiatives that support community-based rural tourism, in
order to promote tourism development in communities in extreme
poverty that have tourism potential in their vicinity but lack full
access to development,” while encouraging countries to continue to
support the fund through voluntary contributions.
Both the medium-term strategy and the inclusion of the Declaration’s
theme in the Fund’s programming are “clear examples of how the ideas
of our tourism authorities can be translated into concrete actions,”
as stated by Executive Secretary for integral Development, Dr.
Parsan in his closing remarks. This is a key result of the meeting,
considering that, as Dr.Parsan recognized, “one of the principal
challenges of these sectoral ministerial meetings is how to
translate the aspirational statements of our authorities contained
in the concluding documents into concrete actions”.
The Organization will continue to work closely
with countries in advancing this strategic approach to tourism
through CITUR and SEDI. In 2017, authorities will meet once again
and gauge the level of progress at the next Inter-American
Congresses of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism to be
held in Guyana.
XXIII Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism from OAS Development on Vimeo.
» Back to newsletter