Tourism expenditures, the export and import
of related goods and services generate income to the
host economy. Tourism is a main source of foreign exchange
earnings for at least 38 % of all countries (World
Contribution to government revenues
Government revenues from the tourism sector
can be categorised as direct and indirect contributions.
Direct contributions are generated by taxes on incomes
from tourism employment, tourism businesses and by direct
charges on tourists such as ecotax or departure taxes.
Indirect contributions derive from taxes and duties
on goods and services supplied to tourists, for example,
taxes on souvenirs, alcohol, restaurants, etc.
The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. According to the World Travel & Toursim Council in 2011 travel and tourism contributed 9% of the global GDP and supported 260 million jobs worldwide. Tourism can generate jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales and indirectly through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-related businesses.
Stimulation of infrastructure
Tourism can induce the local government
to improve the infrastructure by creating better water
and sewage systems, roads, electricity, telephone and
public transport networks. All this can improve the
quality of life for residents as well as facilitate
Slovenian coast case study
Contribution to local economies
Tourism can be a significant or even an
essential part of the local economy. Because environment
is a basic component of the tourism industry’s
assets, tourism revenues are often used to measure the
economic value of protected areas. There are other local
revenues that are not easily quantified, as not all
tourist expenditures are formally registered in the
macro-economic statistics. Part of the tourism income
comes from informal employment, such as street vendors
and informal guides. The positive side of informal or
unreported employment is that the money is returned
to the local economy and has a great multiplier effect
as it is spent over and over again. The World Travel
and Tourism Council estimates that tourism generates
an indirect contribution equal to 100 % of direct tourism
Direct financial contributions to
Tourism can contribute directly to the
conservation of sensitive areas and habitats. Revenue
from park-entrance fees and similar sources can be allocated
specifically to pay for the protection and management
of environmentally sensitive areas. Some governments
collect money in more far-reaching and indirect ways
that are not linked to specific parks or conservation
areas. User fees, income taxes, taxes on sales or rental
of recreation equipment and license fees for activities
such as hunting and fishing can provide governments
with the funds needed to manage natural resources.
More and more tour operators take an active approach towards sustainability. Not only because consumers expect them to do so but also because they are aware that intact destinations are essential for the long term survival of the tourism industry. More and more tour operators prefer to work with suppliers who act in a sustainable manner, e.g. saving water and energy, respecting the local culture and supporting the well being of local communities.
The Tour Operators initiative for Sustainable Tourism (TOI www.toinitiative.org ) unites tourism stakeholders from around the world to promote the development, operation and marketing of tourism in a sustainable way. The Initiative has the full support of the the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), currently hosting the TOI Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).