Approaches to tourism intervention are changing. Organisations that have been investing in pro-poor tourism, or community tourism, have found that their efforts remain in a niche and are too marginal in denting poverty levels. Others operating in mainstream tourism are realising that growth in arrivals is not all that counts – more has to be done to deliver impact for the poor from the growth of mainstream tourism. The focus today is on scaling up the contribution that tourism can make to poverty reduction. Amid disappointing and piecemeal data on the impact of pro-poor tourism initiatives to date, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and other organisations are addressing the challenging question of how to scale up impacts of tourism (and their interventions) on poor people. They are increasingly adopting a 'value chain' (VC) approach, seeking to intervene at key points in the tourism value chain that can significantly expand income and opportunities for the poor, while working effectively within a highly commercial and sophisticated service sector.
Caroline Ashley and Jonathan Mitchell