The impact of tourism in Africa

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The impact of tourism in Africa accounts for more cash moving from rich to poor countries than governments give in aid…tourism constitutes over 10% of total exports in more than half of African countries for which there is data. In countries such as Mali and The Gambia, tiny annual international arrival figures of 70,000 – that’s less than 200 tourists a day – are significant and tourism contributes 10.1% and 30.5% of total exports for these countries respectively.

But can tourism really be pro-poor? Caroline Ashley and Jonathan Mitchell say yes, but only if current practices change. For example, they claim we must resist the:

…tendency to pigeonhole pro-poor tourism into the ‘community tourism’ or ‘corporate social responsibility’ or ‘eco-tourism’ cul-de-sacs. On the contrary it is fairly clear that isolated, ‘alternative’ and small-scale initiatives are unlikely to have the impact or market linkages to delivering the scale of benefits to the poor that are realistically possible from changes at the margin to mainstream tourism.

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