The politics of tourism, poverty reduction and sustainable development

This paper gives an overview of the work that has been done in the field of tourism, sustainable development and poverty reduction and highlights major policy statements of agencies promoting ‘responsible’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘pro-poor tourism’. After providing a brief outline of the historical controversy of tourism as development, it discusses various aspects that play a crucial role in the tourism debate with a focus on poverty and sustainable development: e.g. economic performance, livelihoods, land and natural resources, food security, environmental sustainability, climate change, and the role of women. It also takes a critical look at the new concept of tourism and ‘Green Economy’, as the latter has been included as a key item on the agenda of Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012).