“Whole of government” approach needed to ensure competitiveness and sustainability in tourism, says OECD


10/10/2008 - Governments need to put in place comprehensive strategies to make their tourism industries more competitive and work with industry and regional and local authorities to promote sustainable tourism development. This was the message from a High-level OECD Committee meeting on Tourism in Italy on 9-10 October 2008 involving ministers and industry experts from 27 OECD countries and 12 non-member countries.

“The impact of rapid changes induced by climate change and globalisation on tourism demand, transport, information and tourism’s vulnerability to external shocks, such as the current financial crisis, the rise in energy costs or recent attacks on tourists, has highlighted the need for an integrated and coherent “whole of government” policy framework for tourism.” said Deputy Secretary-General Pier Carlo Padoan. “A broad mix of policies across governments is a key element in supporting productivity improvements in services and a sustainable and competitive tourism economy in the long term. The OECD looks forward to playing a key role in assisting member economies in moving this agenda forward”.

Ms Michela Vittoria Brambilla, Secretary of State for Tourism in Italy called for “a more networked approach to tourism policy development associating the multiplicity of stakeholders, within governments, the private sector and local communities”.

An Action Statement on Tourism Policy issued at the meeting called on countries to consider a range of policies to help develop their tourism industry. Among the recommendations:

  • Policy framework - Implementing evaluation and performance assessment of government policies and programmes affecting tourism, such as promotion, innovation or education and training.
  • Sustainable development - Stimulating investments in energy efficient travel and tourism facilities and services in order to minimise costs and increase profitability of tourism-related enterprises and industries, while minimising potential negative effects to the environment.
  • Innovation - Promoting the sharing of innovative practices in terms of organisation, entrepreneurship or process (e.g. new distribution channels) development for a better use of existing capacities, higher labour productivity and a rejuvenation of the tourism supply (e.g. new products).
  • Employment - Increasing the entrepreneurial/management capacity of tourism small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through appropriate support and training programmes.
  • Authenticity - Developing long term programmes that promote the authenticity of tourism experiences, through the preservation and enhancement of natural and cultural resources and local cultures.
  • Accessibility - Suppressing unnecessary regulatory and administrative impediments to travel and tourism mobility and simplifying and harmonising them.
  • Knowledge - Developing and promoting a system of information and statistical tools, such as the Tourism Satellite Account, which cover the wide range of economic, social and environmental tourism-related questions, meet the demand of tourism stakeholders and support business and policy-decision making.

    Participants called upon the OECD to work closely with stakeholders to tailor tourism policies to future needs, to enhance education and skills development in tourism, to support the efficient energy use and alternative energy use by tourism-related services, and to develop indicators for measuring the efficiency and coherence of strategies of tourism policies.

    Tourism in OECD countries 2008 highlights that in OECD countries, tourism accounts for 30% of service exports, up to 11% of GDP and 12% of employment at country level. OECD economies account for 60% of the global tourism market. While global forecasts indicate a continuing tourism growth around +4% per annum over the next decade, this growth might be less for many OECD countries that have reached a stage of relative maturity in their tourism development and now face competitiveness challenges in tourism.

    For further information, journalists are invited to contact Alain Dupeyras at OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development. For more information:


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