Tourism And International Cooperation Tourism Essay

4415 words (18 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Tourism Reference this

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This paper examines the role of international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the European Union and host of other regional based bodies in the promotion of tourism as a tool for development, poverty reduction, socio-economic integration and economic diversification. There is no doubt that tourism has had immense contribution to many third world countries. As a matter of fact, Sharpley and Telfer (2002) opine that among the contemporary economies, tourism has continuously been referred to as the world’s largest industry (p.2). This is because it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors with its contributions being different from other sectors as it contributes to development by generating foreign exchange. As Grenfell (2010) finds, most developing countries depend on tourists from the developed countries and that foreign tourism in many developing nations is more valued and developed than domestic tourism which is underdeveloped and undervalued (p.3).

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Tourism can therefore help in eliminating the economic gap that exists between the developed and the developing nations. For international community (developed world) to meaningfully help the third world countries, they need to be actively involved in the vital sectors of economy of these countries. It is therefore crucial that the international community should help these third world countries in the creation of infrastructure in order to promote tourism activities which in turn contribute to the overall economic advancement of these countries.

The paper considers ways through which these international bodies can help boost tourism activities in less developed sub-Saharan countries to transform them to performing economies. To this end, the paper will utilize the case of Kenya and Egypt, two sub-Saharan countries experiencing steady economic growth. So as to make a strong argument the paper holds that while many third world countries are endowed with a wide range of economic resources and/or activities, international tourism has over the years continued to play a central role in shaping their economic destinies.

International Tourism and Development

Tourism in its simplest definition refers to the industry that provides travel and entertainment facilities for people away from their own homes (Richmond, 2000). However, it is important to note that in tourism, there are seasons when the activities are at peak and other times when they go off peak. Most tourists usually go for tourism activities during their vacations which might be based on domestic and/or international calendars. International tourism evolved after the Second World War and by the year 1999, it accounted for six percent of the global economy (Ghosh, Siddique & Gabbay, 2003, p.19). This finding is in line with the generalization that tourism accounts for a significant portion of the world economy.

In connection to this, it can be argued that international tourism has been a culmination of efforts made by the international community to alleviate developing countries from their vicious cycles of poverty. This argument is supported by the fact most international communities have been at the forefront in sensitizing developing nations on the need to invest heavily in relevant sectors like tourism for sustainable growth and development. After all, and Zhao and Xingqun (2010) finds, the development of any country is the only practical mechanism capable of lifting people out of vicious cycles of poverty and making them equal partners in the society (p.207). Apparently, these authors agree that being one of the major ways through which developing nations earns foreign exchange, tourism has continuously provided the most practical path along which masses can easily be uplifted from the densely intertwined vicious cycles of poverty their reside in.

Theories in Tourism Development

From a conventional tourism context, at least three theoretical frameworks have been fronted in attempts to streamline the industry and extract the most benefits out of it. These theories include dependency, development versus underdevelopment, and basic needs versus human development theories. It is imperative to point out that these theories have been applied independently and sometimes by players in understanding its management.

Dependency Theory

Dependency theory is about the unequal economic and political exchange that normally takes place between the developed countries and the less developed ones (Britton, 1982, p.56). The theory is concerned about the dependency that exists in the world in the sense that most developing countries have been noted to continually seek help from the developed countries, help that has mostly been used for infrastructure development purposes in major economic sectors such as tourism.

Development versus Underdevelopment Theory

On the other hand, underdevelopment theory holds that underdeveloped nations promote tourism with the main aim of making it to be a sector that generates foreign exchange and in so doing help them realize development goals. For instance, many developing nations have been keen on promoting tourism activities in bid to create more employment opportunities for their people, utilize natural as well as manmade resources, and most importantly, as a way of attracting development partners which in turn enhance economic independence (Martin & Ian, 2009, p. 53).

Even so, it is imperative to point out that unlike the dependency theory the development versus underdevelopment theory is built on the premises of good corporate governance and unrelenting evolutionary pressures emanating from perpetual demographics and technological change (Milne, 2001, p.372). As such therefore, this theory seems to be more bent on incorporating international institutions given that it is known that they play a core role in enhancing transparency and accountability among developing economies. Tellingly, this theory has a got a firm conviction on the role played by these global institutions in shaping tourism advancement and development particularly in the third world countries. Though they are many the most conspicuous (in terms of their overall contributions) of these institutions are; World Bank and International Monetary Fund which have been instrumental in shaping tourism activities especially in the less developed countries.

Basic Needs versus Human Development Theory

Public policy enthusiasts have been noted to base most of their analysis on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is by far one of the most motivational theories in the public domain (Andriotis, 2001, p.312). In relation to tourism activities, it is arguable that tourists also attach great importance on the hierarchy of needs as presented by Maslow when making tour expedition plans. For instance, one of the greatest concerns among tourists is their safety. This is because when their physiological safety is guaranteed their self esteem will be boosted and therefore this will heighten the chances of self actualization which has been noted to be the greatest achievement that many tourists seek while in their tour expedition.

Role of the World Bank and other International Agencies in Tourism and International Development

World Bank and other international institutions have the noble role of facilitating international development. However, most of these developments have been concentrated in the less developed countries as these institutions embark on fulfilling one of their core mandate of facilitating growth and development in the form of bridging the gap between the developed world and the less development countries. The devotion of the World Bank in trying to bring international development in these nations can be seen from several bodies, for example, International Finance Corporation which is one of the World Bank constituent agencies has immensely invested in tourism especially in the poorest countries of the world (Youthink, 2010).

World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have also been major players in infrastructural development in the least developed countries. Infrastructures such as road and other telecommunication network have been brought up in these countries under the initiative of World Bank and IMF. The provision of infrastructure facilities and services for tourists, that is, roads, communications, health and sanitation services have been designed to benefit the tourists and the local communities at the same time (WTO, 2002, p.31).this has occasioned progressive development in majority of these countries.

In addition, World Tourism Organization, a sector-specific organization that brings together tourist destination territories in close partnership with both the World Bank and the IMF, is tasked with the core role of promoting development and sustainability of tourism activities particularly among developing countries. This organization makes sure that global ethics and codes on matters that relates to tourism are strictly adhered to by the member countries (International Relations & Cooperation, 2011). No doubt, efforts coordinated through this organization have over the years continued to bring about sustained growth and development which translates to the overall economic advancement of its member states which in turn leads to international development.

International Cooperation Initiatives that Contribute to Tourism and Development

As earlier mentioned, tourism is a key aspect in any country’s development agenda. As such therefore, in a bid to guarantee rapid growth and advancement through tourism, a number of international cooperation initiatives have since been instituted to help contribute to tourism and development as a whole. For instance, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is one of these co-operations that have been put in place to help steer tourism and development agendas among member countries. Precisely, ever since it was incorporation WTTC has been committed to enhancing environmentally sustainable development programs (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1999, p.3).

Away from the specific roles that WTTC plays and basing on the notion that tourism is heavily depended on environmental features it is only wise to argue that any cooperation that intends to promote tourism must safeguard the immediate environment so as to avoid the depletion of natural features for the future tourism activities. In this regard and according to WTTC research, the travel and tourism sector in India, for instance, generates as much as 17.7 million employment opportunities for both Indian citizens and nationals of other countries. No doubt this is a practical indicator that indeed tourism industry plays a central role in creating positive development co-operations among the world economies.

In addition, in Central America, the countries in the region formed America Regional Integration (ARI) that bring the countries together in the region and facilitates cooperation initiatives in several spheres of the economy. ARI outlines several contours of the dual processes of regional integration and tourism development in the region (Ferguson, 2010). This brings forth cooperation of the member countries in collaboration on issues that relate to tourism and general development matters.

Moreover, International Tourism Partnership (ITP) is another international body that brings forth cooperation among nations on issues relating to tourism. Within ITP, airlines, hotels, tour operators and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) work together to promote sustainable business activities within tourism and travel industry (Sharpley & David, 2008, p.3). This ensures coordination of tourist’s activities which is very important to tourist related features that spans several countries.

Given that tourism is taken to be a driver of economies of most countries, it is therefore important that bilateral and multilateral cooperation among neighbouring as well as far apart countries be interwoven with tourism activities. Most countries have therefore entered into foreign policy cooperation with several partners in crafting joint policies that seek to promote tourist activities between or among them (David, Maria & Ginger, 2008, p.141). perhaps this is following the realization that joint policy formulation between and among nations provides good operating environment for tourism activities which in turn spur economic growth among the participating parties.

Tourism has also become a core factor in poverty alleviation through Sustainable Tourism Eradicate Poverty (STEP), an initiative that has since gained support from major tourist destination territories across the developing world. In the year 2000, poverty was identified as the biggest challenge on the globe and therefore millennium development goals were set up to help eradicate poverty by the year 2015. Those in tourism sector responded well for the call and World Tourism Organization launched STEP initiative which is focused on long term mechanisms of sustaining tourism activities that can alleviate poverty and ensure development of the less developed countries (World Tourism Organization, 2010). The STEP is a proactive initiative that seeks to bring forth development to the disadvantaged groups especially in the less developed nations in order to attain the millennium development goal number one of poverty eradication.

The Case Study of Kenya and Egypt

Tourism Profile in Kenya

Tourism is one of the most stable and well established sectors of the Kenyan economy. As a matter of fact, the tourism industry occupies the second position in terms of foreign exchange earnings amassed by the country every year (Davies & Knivett, 2008, p. 215). The main attraction ranges from national parks which are spread around the country and game reserves. The renowned Great Rift Valley scenery is also another key tourist attraction in the country. These are the key tourism activities although there are other diverse natural as well as manmade features that serve as supplements to the main features.

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The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) is the central agency formulated by the Kenyan government to spearhead all matters related to the marketing of the industry. In addition, the seriousness with which tourism activities are taken within the country is underscored by the fact that the Kenyan government has created an independent ministry to coordinate tourism activities within the country. The KTB as well as a host of other national and international agencies that are actively involved in running tourism activities in the country operate under this ministry. Some of these bodies include Ecotourism Kenya which promotes sustainable tourism practices within the tourism industry in the country (Ecotourism Kenya, 2011). This ensures that the environment which is vital in tourism activities is not adversely affected by man activities as well as enhancement of sustainable activities that relate to tourism for the future of the country.

Given that Kenya is endowed with a wide range of diversity of resources that ranges right from mountain ecosystems, marine to arid and semi arid (Mwanjala, 2005, p.4), it can be argued that this body plays a core role. In addition, the Kenya government has put much emphasis on the conservation of natural ecosystems and in so doing a total of twenty seven national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and thirty four national reserves have since been set aside and continuously protected by the successive governments as a way of promoting sustainable tourism activities.

International Agencies Involvement in Tourism Development in Kenya

For a long time, the Kenyan government has continued to recognize the tourism sector as a tool for poverty alleviation and economic advancement. In so doing, the government has sought cooperation from the international community in participating actively in tourism activities within the country. For instance, the government has succeeded in initiating sustainable cooperation with international agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other United Nations bodies to assist in instituting necessary infrastructure that could facilitate tourists’ activities. This has led to deeper involvement of these international bodies in setting up of key structures for example, most of the major highways in the country were put up by the joint efforts of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (Manyara & Jones, 2009, p.238). This has positively impacted on the growth of tourism sector as well as other related sectors such as hospitality and agricultures industries.

In addition, Kenya has ever since been a member of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) which is the agency that coordinates ecotourism in the world (Akama, 2002, p.12). The organization therefore promotes tourism development in Kenya by providing technical assistance, training, research in the tourism sector and provision of standards and guidelines that ensures that tourism services and products maintains and upholds the standards required in the world market and in so doing promoting and upholding the existing natural ecosystems.

How Tourism Development has Addressed Some Problems in Kenya

Kenya is a developing country characterized by several problems that are related to underdevelopment. The most dominant of all these problems is the increasing poverty levels among majority of its population. Over the years, the tourism sector has continued to occupy the central position in the fight against the increasing levels of poverty particularly among communities living within most natural ecosystems frequented by tourists. As a matter of fact, through the foreign exchange that the country amasses every year, several development initiatives are established in addressing the biting poverty levels within the country.

As dominant sector in the country, tourism has employed quite a significant number of the Kenyan population. Today several Kenyans serves in several sub sectors of the industry that include tour guides, transport services, as well as areas of food and beverages and accommodations services. A significant percent of the population earn their living from these tourism related occupations and as a result contribute immensely to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. Apart from solving unemployment related problems, tourism also helps in fighting and alleviating poverty problems in the country (Jenkins, 1982, p.62).Needless to say, by addressing these two core social problems, tourism has positively boosted the country’s economy.

Developing countries have also been characterized by poor infrastructure network and Kenya is not an exception. However, with the involvement of the international agencies such as World Bank and IMF in boosting tourism activities, several infrastructural facilities have since been set up (Walter, 2003). Despite this contributing to tourism, it has also been beneficial to the entire economic performance as other sectors of the economy such as trade, agriculture among others also use these infrastructural developments. This has indirectly helped to address even other sectors such as telecommunication in the country.

Effectiveness of International Cooperation Initiatives in Tourism Development in Kenya

International cooperation has been beneficial to the tourism sector in Kenya. Through international initiative like efforts put in by organs such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, tourism has been identified as the most promising industry in developing states including Kenya (James, 2010). The international cooperation that exists between Kenya and these agencies has led to effective as structures of economy being set up which both tourism and other sectors of the economy have benefited.

The core objective of tourism as a sector of the economy is to accelerate the economy of the country through sound tourism management. This has been effective in the Kenyan case since tourism is graded as the second largest foreign earner to the country. This has been made possible by initiatives of the international agencies in promoting tourist activities in the country which have resulted to positive outcome where by tourism earning have been d increasing tremendously.

Tourism profile in Egypt

Historically, Egypt has been widely known for its massive tourism industry. It has always been a destination where Europeans and other groups visit to see some of its antiquities dating back to the eras of early civilization (Egypt Government, 2010). There are unique tourism destinations in Egypt which includes but not limited to Safaga, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, pyramids among others which have been at the centre of attraction for many tourists. This makes tourism one of the most valuable and important sector of the Egypt economy. For example, in the year 2008, eleven billion US dollars of the country’s income was attributed to tourism sector.

In terms of infrastructural institution, Egypt is fairly developed compared to other developing countries in the region and this gives it some edge against other players such as Kenya (Tama, 1988). The peak season for tourists’ activities in Egypt starts from mid October to May which is normally characterized by spring and winter in terms of climatic conditions. However, it is important to note that in terms of safety, terrorism has at occasions affected the industry negatively with foreign tourists being targeted as potential victims. This has often translated to negative impacts on the industry.

How Tourism Development is Addressed Some Problems in Egypt

Tourism has been described as the act of people travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure and which has been remarkable for economic and social improvements of countries and their people (Zakaria et al, 2009). In this regard, Egypt has been a dominant player in the fields of tourism due to its historical richness. The country has therefore reaped heavily from the sector and in so doing; tourism has helped to address several problems of underdevelopment. This ranges from infrastructural development, to creation of employment opportunities to stable economy.

The significant revenues that are accrued from the tourism sector are also diverted and used in other sectors of the economy. For example, some of the revenues are directed to the education sector where by significant improvement and advancements have since been made. This has helped in solving the illiteracy problem which is a major problem to most developing countries.

Effectiveness of International Cooperation Initiatives in Tourism Development in Egypt

There exist several international agencies that are in cooperation with Egypt whose main agenda is to develop tourism industry which in turn helps to revolutionize the economy. For example, there exists several Italian NGOs which have since partnered with the civil society with the aim of promoting development through tourist related activities (Cooperation Italiana, 2011). Through these NGOs a number social initiatives have since been directly initiated among the communities living near major tourist attractions and indirectly across the country nation-wide activities that span a wide range of social issues such as education, health, security and agriculture. This has been made possible through “giving-back-to-the-community” initiatives which are part of the wider mutual partnerships between the Italian and the Egyptian governments.

In addition, UN constituent agencies such as the UNESCO have also entered into cooperation which the government of Egypt where several initiatives within the realm of education and cultural tourism have since been undertaken (Yerevan, 1981). As a matter of fact, the agreement on cultural tourism can be argued to be a positive measure toward the protection and promotion of the Egyptian cultural sites and practices. Through this cooperation, various cultural sites and activities have been successfully marketed leading to significant improvement and development in tourism activities and hence the entire Egyptian economy.

In addition, Egypt enjoy close foreign cooperation with the United States and it is from this close ties that United States-Egypt Friendship Society was established (Egypt, 2008). This cooperation has facilitated economic benefits to Egypt from United States which are granted to the government of Egypt to improve various tourism activities alongside with other sectors of the economy.

Moreover, Egypt is a member of the Triangular Cooperation which is an organization that draws it membership from several countries and which provide aid to different sectors of the economy to the member states (Talita, 2010). This cooperation has contributed positively to the development of Egypt economy as the aid given is directed to development sectors including but not limited to tourism. This has translated to positive economic development of Egypt as a country as it is one of the stable economies among the developing world.

Conclusion

Tourism is a global phenomenon which manifests itself locally, regionally and internationally. It is widely categorized into two categories, with tourism activities that involve purely local people being referred to as domestic tourism while those involving participants from across the border are referred to as foreign tourism. Tourism has been proved to be a vital driver of economies of majority of the countries. In the two developing countries discussed in this paper (Kenya and Egypt), tourism has been at the centre stage in transforming their economies and addressing pertinent societal concerns such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In addition, tourism has also positively impacted on other sectors of economy in these two countries through the improvement of the local infrastructure frameworks.

This paper examines the role of international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the European Union and host of other regional based bodies in the promotion of tourism as a tool for development, poverty reduction, socio-economic integration and economic diversification. There is no doubt that tourism has had immense contribution to many third world countries. As a matter of fact, Sharpley and Telfer (2002) opine that among the contemporary economies, tourism has continuously been referred to as the world’s largest industry (p.2). This is because it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors with its contributions being different from other sectors as it contributes to development by generating foreign exchange. As Grenfell (2010) finds, most developing countries depend on tourists from the developed countries and that foreign tourism in many developing nations is more valued and developed than domestic tourism which is underdeveloped and undervalued (p.3).

Tourism can therefore help in eliminating the economic gap that exists between the developed and the developing nations. For international community (developed world) to meaningfully help the third world countries, they need to be actively involved in the vital sectors of economy of these countries. It is therefore crucial that the international community should help these third world countries in the creation of infrastructure in order to promote tourism activities which in turn contribute to the overall economic advancement of these countries.

The paper considers ways through which these international bodies can help boost tourism activities in less developed sub-Saharan countries to transform them to performing economies. To this end, the paper will utilize the case of Kenya and Egypt, two sub-Saharan countries experiencing steady economic growth. So as to make a strong argument the paper holds that while many third world countries are endowed with a wide range of economic resources and/or activities, international tourism has over the years continued to play a central role in shaping their economic destinies.

International Tourism and Development

Tourism in its simplest definition refers to the industry that provides travel and entertainment facilities for people away from their own homes (Richmond, 2000). However, it is important to note that in tourism, there are seasons when the activities are at peak and other times when they go off peak. Most tourists usually go for tourism activities during their vacations which might be based on domestic and/or international calendars. International tourism evolved after the Second World War and by the year 1999, it accounted for six percent of the global economy (Ghosh, Siddique & Gabbay, 2003, p.19). This finding is in line with the generalization that tourism accounts for a significant portion of the world economy.

In connection to this, it can be argued that international tourism has been a culmination of efforts made by the international community to alleviate developing countries from their vicious cycles of poverty. This argument is supported by the fact most international communities have been at the forefront in sensitizing developing nations on the need to invest heavily in relevant sectors like tourism for sustainable growth and development. After all, and Zhao and Xingqun (2010) finds, the development of any country is the only practical mechanism capable of lifting people out of vicious cycles of poverty and making them equal partners in the society (p.207). Apparently, these authors agree that being one of the major ways through which developing nations earns foreign exchange, tourism has continuously provided the most practical path along which masses can easily be uplifted from the densely intertwined vicious cycles of poverty their reside in.

Theories in Tourism Development

From a conventional tourism context, at least three theoretical frameworks have been fronted in attempts to streamline the industry and extract the most benefits out of it. These theories include dependency, development versus underdevelopment, and basic needs versus human development theories. It is imperative to point out that these theories have been applied independently and sometimes by players in understanding its management.

Dependency Theory

Dependency theory is about the unequal economic and political exchange that normally takes place between the developed countries and the less developed ones (Britton, 1982, p.56). The theory is concerned about the dependency that exists in the world in the sense that most developing countries have been noted to continually seek help from the developed countries, help that has mostly been used for infrastructure development purposes in major economic sectors such as tourism.

Development versus Underdevelopment Theory

On the other hand, underdevelopment theory holds that underdeveloped nations promote tourism with the main aim of making it to be a sector that generates foreign exchange and in so doing help them realize development goals. For instance, many developing nations have been keen on promoting tourism activities in bid to create more employment opportunities for their people, utilize natural as well as manmade resources, and most importantly, as a way of attracting development partners which in turn enhance economic independence (Martin & Ian, 2009, p. 53).

Even so, it is imperative to point out that unlike the dependency theory the development versus underdevelopment theory is built on the premises of good corporate governance and unrelenting evolutionary pressures emanating from perpetual demographics and technological change (Milne, 2001, p.372). As such therefore, this theory seems to be more bent on incorporating international institutions given that it is known that they play a core role in enhancing transparency and accountability among developing economies. Tellingly, this theory has a got a firm conviction on the role played by these global institutions in shaping tourism advancement and development particularly in the third world countries. Though they are many the most conspicuous (in terms of their overall contributions) of these institutions are; World Bank and International Monetary Fund which have been instrumental in shaping tourism activities especially in the less developed countries.

Basic Needs versus Human Development Theory

Public policy enthusiasts have been noted to base most of their analysis on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is by far one of the most motivational theories in the public domain (Andriotis, 2001, p.312). In relation to tourism activities, it is arguable that tourists also attach great importance on the hierarchy of needs as presented by Maslow when making tour expedition plans. For instance, one of the greatest concerns among tourists is their safety. This is because when their physiological safety is guaranteed their self esteem will be boosted and therefore this will heighten the chances of self actualization which has been noted to be the greatest achievement that many tourists seek while in their tour expedition.

Role of the World Bank and other International Agencies in Tourism and International Development

World Bank and other international institutions have the noble role of facilitating international development. However, most of these developments have been concentrated in the less developed countries as these institutions embark on fulfilling one of their core mandate of facilitating growth and development in the form of bridging the gap between the developed world and the less development countries. The devotion of the World Bank in trying to bring international development in these nations can be seen from several bodies, for example, International Finance Corporation which is one of the World Bank constituent agencies has immensely invested in tourism especially in the poorest countries of the world (Youthink, 2010).

World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have also been major players in infrastructural development in the least developed countries. Infrastructures such as road and other telecommunication network have been brought up in these countries under the initiative of World Bank and IMF. The provision of infrastructure facilities and services for tourists, that is, roads, communications, health and sanitation services have been designed to benefit the tourists and the local communities at the same time (WTO, 2002, p.31).this has occasioned progressive development in majority of these countries.

In addition, World Tourism Organization, a sector-specific organization that brings together tourist destination territories in close partnership with both the World Bank and the IMF, is tasked with the core role of promoting development and sustainability of tourism activities particularly among developing countries. This organization makes sure that global ethics and codes on matters that relates to tourism are strictly adhered to by the member countries (International Relations & Cooperation, 2011). No doubt, efforts coordinated through this organization have over the years continued to bring about sustained growth and development which translates to the overall economic advancement of its member states which in turn leads to international development.

International Cooperation Initiatives that Contribute to Tourism and Development

As earlier mentioned, tourism is a key aspect in any country’s development agenda. As such therefore, in a bid to guarantee rapid growth and advancement through tourism, a number of international cooperation initiatives have since been instituted to help contribute to tourism and development as a whole. For instance, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is one of these co-operations that have been put in place to help steer tourism and development agendas among member countries. Precisely, ever since it was incorporation WTTC has been committed to enhancing environmentally sustainable development programs (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1999, p.3).

Away from the specific roles that WTTC plays and basing on the notion that tourism is heavily depended on environmental features it is only wise to argue that any cooperation that intends to promote tourism must safeguard the immediate environment so as to avoid the depletion of natural features for the future tourism activities. In this regard and according to WTTC research, the travel and tourism sector in India, for instance, generates as much as 17.7 million employment opportunities for both Indian citizens and nationals of other countries. No doubt this is a practical indicator that indeed tourism industry plays a central role in creating positive development co-operations among the world economies.

In addition, in Central America, the countries in the region formed America Regional Integration (ARI) that bring the countries together in the region and facilitates cooperation initiatives in several spheres of the economy. ARI outlines several contours of the dual processes of regional integration and tourism development in the region (Ferguson, 2010). This brings forth cooperation of the member countries in collaboration on issues that relate to tourism and general development matters.

Moreover, International Tourism Partnership (ITP) is another international body that brings forth cooperation among nations on issues relating to tourism. Within ITP, airlines, hotels, tour operators and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) work together to promote sustainable business activities within tourism and travel industry (Sharpley & David, 2008, p.3). This ensures coordination of tourist’s activities which is very important to tourist related features that spans several countries.

Given that tourism is taken to be a driver of economies of most countries, it is therefore important that bilateral and multilateral cooperation among neighbouring as well as far apart countries be interwoven with tourism activities. Most countries have therefore entered into foreign policy cooperation with several partners in crafting joint policies that seek to promote tourist activities between or among them (David, Maria & Ginger, 2008, p.141). perhaps this is following the realization that joint policy formulation between and among nations provides good operating environment for tourism activities which in turn spur economic growth among the participating parties.

Tourism has also become a core factor in poverty alleviation through Sustainable Tourism Eradicate Poverty (STEP), an initiative that has since gained support from major tourist destination territories across the developing world. In the year 2000, poverty was identified as the biggest challenge on the globe and therefore millennium development goals were set up to help eradicate poverty by the year 2015. Those in tourism sector responded well for the call and World Tourism Organization launched STEP initiative which is focused on long term mechanisms of sustaining tourism activities that can alleviate poverty and ensure development of the less developed countries (World Tourism Organization, 2010). The STEP is a proactive initiative that seeks to bring forth development to the disadvantaged groups especially in the less developed nations in order to attain the millennium development goal number one of poverty eradication.

The Case Study of Kenya and Egypt

Tourism Profile in Kenya

Tourism is one of the most stable and well established sectors of the Kenyan economy. As a matter of fact, the tourism industry occupies the second position in terms of foreign exchange earnings amassed by the country every year (Davies & Knivett, 2008, p. 215). The main attraction ranges from national parks which are spread around the country and game reserves. The renowned Great Rift Valley scenery is also another key tourist attraction in the country. These are the key tourism activities although there are other diverse natural as well as manmade features that serve as supplements to the main features.

The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) is the central agency formulated by the Kenyan government to spearhead all matters related to the marketing of the industry. In addition, the seriousness with which tourism activities are taken within the country is underscored by the fact that the Kenyan government has created an independent ministry to coordinate tourism activities within the country. The KTB as well as a host of other national and international agencies that are actively involved in running tourism activities in the country operate under this ministry. Some of these bodies include Ecotourism Kenya which promotes sustainable tourism practices within the tourism industry in the country (Ecotourism Kenya, 2011). This ensures that the environment which is vital in tourism activities is not adversely affected by man activities as well as enhancement of sustainable activities that relate to tourism for the future of the country.

Given that Kenya is endowed with a wide range of diversity of resources that ranges right from mountain ecosystems, marine to arid and semi arid (Mwanjala, 2005, p.4), it can be argued that this body plays a core role. In addition, the Kenya government has put much emphasis on the conservation of natural ecosystems and in so doing a total of twenty seven national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and thirty four national reserves have since been set aside and continuously protected by the successive governments as a way of promoting sustainable tourism activities.

International Agencies Involvement in Tourism Development in Kenya

For a long time, the Kenyan government has continued to recognize the tourism sector as a tool for poverty alleviation and economic advancement. In so doing, the government has sought cooperation from the international community in participating actively in tourism activities within the country. For instance, the government has succeeded in initiating sustainable cooperation with international agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other United Nations bodies to assist in instituting necessary infrastructure that could facilitate tourists’ activities. This has led to deeper involvement of these international bodies in setting up of key structures for example, most of the major highways in the country were put up by the joint efforts of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (Manyara & Jones, 2009, p.238). This has positively impacted on the growth of tourism sector as well as other related sectors such as hospitality and agricultures industries.

In addition, Kenya has ever since been a member of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) which is the agency that coordinates ecotourism in the world (Akama, 2002, p.12). The organization therefore promotes tourism development in Kenya by providing technical assistance, training, research in the tourism sector and provision of standards and guidelines that ensures that tourism services and products maintains and upholds the standards required in the world market and in so doing promoting and upholding the existing natural ecosystems.

How Tourism Development has Addressed Some Problems in Kenya

Kenya is a developing country characterized by several problems that are related to underdevelopment. The most dominant of all these problems is the increasing poverty levels among majority of its population. Over the years, the tourism sector has continued to occupy the central position in the fight against the increasing levels of poverty particularly among communities living within most natural ecosystems frequented by tourists. As a matter of fact, through the foreign exchange that the country amasses every year, several development initiatives are established in addressing the biting poverty levels within the country.

As dominant sector in the country, tourism has employed quite a significant number of the Kenyan population. Today several Kenyans serves in several sub sectors of the industry that include tour guides, transport services, as well as areas of food and beverages and accommodations services. A significant percent of the population earn their living from these tourism related occupations and as a result contribute immensely to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. Apart from solving unemployment related problems, tourism also helps in fighting and alleviating poverty problems in the country (Jenkins, 1982, p.62).Needless to say, by addressing these two core social problems, tourism has positively boosted the country’s economy.

Developing countries have also been characterized by poor infrastructure network and Kenya is not an exception. However, with the involvement of the international agencies such as World Bank and IMF in boosting tourism activities, several infrastructural facilities have since been set up (Walter, 2003). Despite this contributing to tourism, it has also been beneficial to the entire economic performance as other sectors of the economy such as trade, agriculture among others also use these infrastructural developments. This has indirectly helped to address even other sectors such as telecommunication in the country.

Effectiveness of International Cooperation Initiatives in Tourism Development in Kenya

International cooperation has been beneficial to the tourism sector in Kenya. Through international initiative like efforts put in by organs such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, tourism has been identified as the most promising industry in developing states including Kenya (James, 2010). The international cooperation that exists between Kenya and these agencies has led to effective as structures of economy being set up which both tourism and other sectors of the economy have benefited.

The core objective of tourism as a sector of the economy is to accelerate the economy of the country through sound tourism management. This has been effective in the Kenyan case since tourism is graded as the second largest foreign earner to the country. This has been made possible by initiatives of the international agencies in promoting tourist activities in the country which have resulted to positive outcome where by tourism earning have been d increasing tremendously.

Tourism profile in Egypt

Historically, Egypt has been widely known for its massive tourism industry. It has always been a destination where Europeans and other groups visit to see some of its antiquities dating back to the eras of early civilization (Egypt Government, 2010). There are unique tourism destinations in Egypt which includes but not limited to Safaga, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, pyramids among others which have been at the centre of attraction for many tourists. This makes tourism one of the most valuable and important sector of the Egypt economy. For example, in the year 2008, eleven billion US dollars of the country’s income was attributed to tourism sector.

In terms of infrastructural institution, Egypt is fairly developed compared to other developing countries in the region and this gives it some edge against other players such as Kenya (Tama, 1988). The peak season for tourists’ activities in Egypt starts from mid October to May which is normally characterized by spring and winter in terms of climatic conditions. However, it is important to note that in terms of safety, terrorism has at occasions affected the industry negatively with foreign tourists being targeted as potential victims. This has often translated to negative impacts on the industry.

How Tourism Development is Addressed Some Problems in Egypt

Tourism has been described as the act of people travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure and which has been remarkable for economic and social improvements of countries and their people (Zakaria et al, 2009). In this regard, Egypt has been a dominant player in the fields of tourism due to its historical richness. The country has therefore reaped heavily from the sector and in so doing; tourism has helped to address several problems of underdevelopment. This ranges from infrastructural development, to creation of employment opportunities to stable economy.

The significant revenues that are accrued from the tourism sector are also diverted and used in other sectors of the economy. For example, some of the revenues are directed to the education sector where by significant improvement and advancements have since been made. This has helped in solving the illiteracy problem which is a major problem to most developing countries.

Effectiveness of International Cooperation Initiatives in Tourism Development in Egypt

There exist several international agencies that are in cooperation with Egypt whose main agenda is to develop tourism industry which in turn helps to revolutionize the economy. For example, there exists several Italian NGOs which have since partnered with the civil society with the aim of promoting development through tourist related activities (Cooperation Italiana, 2011). Through these NGOs a number social initiatives have since been directly initiated among the communities living near major tourist attractions and indirectly across the country nation-wide activities that span a wide range of social issues such as education, health, security and agriculture. This has been made possible through “giving-back-to-the-community” initiatives which are part of the wider mutual partnerships between the Italian and the Egyptian governments.

In addition, UN constituent agencies such as the UNESCO have also entered into cooperation which the government of Egypt where several initiatives within the realm of education and cultural tourism have since been undertaken (Yerevan, 1981). As a matter of fact, the agreement on cultural tourism can be argued to be a positive measure toward the protection and promotion of the Egyptian cultural sites and practices. Through this cooperation, various cultural sites and activities have been successfully marketed leading to significant improvement and development in tourism activities and hence the entire Egyptian economy.

In addition, Egypt enjoy close foreign cooperation with the United States and it is from this close ties that United States-Egypt Friendship Society was established (Egypt, 2008). This cooperation has facilitated economic benefits to Egypt from United States which are granted to the government of Egypt to improve various tourism activities alongside with other sectors of the economy.

Moreover, Egypt is a member of the Triangular Cooperation which is an organization that draws it membership from several countries and which provide aid to different sectors of the economy to the member states (Talita, 2010). This cooperation has contributed positively to the development of Egypt economy as the aid given is directed to development sectors including but not limited to tourism. This has translated to positive economic development of Egypt as a country as it is one of the stable economies among the developing world.

Conclusion

Tourism is a global phenomenon which manifests itself locally, regionally and internationally. It is widely categorized into two categories, with tourism activities that involve purely local people being referred to as domestic tourism while those involving participants from across the border are referred to as foreign tourism. Tourism has been proved to be a vital driver of economies of majority of the countries. In the two developing countries discussed in this paper (Kenya and Egypt), tourism has been at the centre stage in transforming their economies and addressing pertinent societal concerns such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In addition, tourism has also positively impacted on other sectors of economy in these two countries through the improvement of the local infrastructure frameworks.

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