Press releases

ITC Develops Pilot Projects to Engage SMEs in Tourism Value Chain

11 May 2011
ITC News

The International Trade Centre (ITC) announced today the development of four projects to connect small- and medium-sized enterprises in least developed countries (LDCs) to the tourism industry. The pilot projects are the outcomes of ITC’s World Export Development Forum (WEDF), held 10 – 11 May 2011 within the framework of the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, Turkey.

‘What our research before the event and interactions during it have shown us is that there is definite interest in exploring opportunities in LDCs,’ said Mrs. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of ITC. ‘What we need to do to achieve the investments that we want is to think differently about how we do things. Policymakers, private-sector investors, and community players all must be involved to create the right kind of framework to have the right kind of investment.’

Four pilot projects were discussed at WEDF and will now be further developed in-country and validated by local stakeholders. This will take place with a view to producing bankable project documents and commitments from implementing partners.

The four projects cover:

  • Engaging women vendors in the tourism value chain. ITC’s Women and Trade programme currently works towards bringing together corporate buyers and women sellers. ITC will work with the Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors in this tourism-related project to investigate further ways to more fully involve women in the tourism value chain.
  • Connecting farmers producing fresh fruit and vegetables to commercial agro-industry operations in the tourism sector. This project focuses on Tanzania and will further examine the most successful methods being used in other countries to empower farmers and create a connection to tourism businesses.
  • Inclusive tourism as a market opportunity for the developing world within which there are two projects: cultural heritage in Ethiopia and trade development for micro-artisans and artists in Uganda.
  • Managing tourism after a crisis. This project concludes with the development of a guidebook, led by the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, to provide advice to LDCs on how to recover tourism after a crisis.

ITC will work with relevant partners in all countries to further research and develop the pilot projects. The aim is for local private and public sector partners in the countries to eventually take over leadership of the projects.

ITC is working with nine other UN agencies and other partners to create a toolkit that explores how countries can better interact with international organizations for tourism development.  

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