Over the last fifty years, tourism has become one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the global economy. Thanks to more than 1,2 billion international travellers crossing international borders (UNWTO, 2016), tourism accounts for some 11% of the world’s GDP and 1 out 11 jobs. There is no doubt that the sector’s exponential growth has brought with it immense benefits. Tourism boosts not only the employment and foreign exchange, but it also drives the entrepreneurship, rural and urban development in many countries and regions, while reducing poverty, prompting intercultural dialogue and building tolerance.
Tourism also has an extraordinary potential to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment and advancement of women and youth, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and other segments of population who have not enjoyed historically the most privileged position in human development.