Economic crisis, international tourism decline and its impact on the poor. An analysis of the effects of the global economic crisis on the employment of poor and vulnerable groups in the tourism sector.

Abstract

This study investigated how the decrease in tourism demand in 2009, which resulted from the global economic crisis, has impacted on employment, income opportunities and the livelihood of poor and vulnerable groups, as well as on the capacity of households to cope with such shocks. This evaluation aims to provide an insight into the ramifications of the crisis for people's everyday lives.

A comparative large-N macroeconomic analysis provides empirical evidence of how the decline in tourism demand has affected growth and employment and what effects public policy measures had across countries on a global level. The aim of this macroeconomic analysis is to identify patterns and trends within the tourism sector and to specifically investigate the varying impact of the crisis on developing countries.

The three country case studies - the Maldives, Costa Rica and Tanzania - provide insights into the impact of the global crisis on levels of employment and opportunities for low- and unskilled individuals working in the tourism sector. The focus is on workers belonging to poor and vulnerable groups on both the national as well as on the household level (including youth at risk, low-wage, low-skilled, informal economy and migrant workers). Reflecting the overall aim of the Global Pulse Initiative, the case studies refer to value chain and sustainable livelihoods approaches, in order to connect the macro with the micro level.

The Maldives, Costa Rica, and Tanzania were selected since (a) tourism has a significant weight in their economies and employment, (b) they witnessed a significant decrease in tourism demand (international tourist arrivals and earnings) clearly attributable to the economic crisis, and (c) their cases are typical of similar tourism destinations/countries in their regions, or countries in similar situations (e.g. small island states).

By evaluating the effectiveness of public policy and crisis mitigating measures of private businesses and their influence on the livelihoods of people, the report concludes by providing general recommendations on a macro level, as well as country-specific policy recommendations for the three case studies. These are intended, not only to meet short-term needs, but also to develop context-specific strategies for improving the crisis resilience of poor and vulnerable groups.

Citation

Steiner, C.; Richter, T.; Dörry, S.; Neisen, V.; Stephenson, M.L.; Lemma, A. F.; Mitchell, J.G.B. Economic crisis, international tourism decline and its impact on the poor. An analysis of the effects of the global economic crisis on the employment of poor and vulnerable groups in the tourism sector. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Madrid, Spain/International Labour Organization (ILO) Geneva, Switzerland (2011) 287 pp.

Economic crisis, international tourism decline and its impact on the poor. An analysis of the effects of the global economic crisis on the employment of poor and vulnerable groups in the tourism sector.

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