The conference, held in Doha around the theme "From Potential to Prosperity", came at the crucial midpoint in the timeline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fully implement the 2030 agenda. Given that the sector represents 7% of total exports and up to 10% for non-oil exporting LDCs, tourism has proven its power to drive development. The cross-cutting and labour-intensive nature of tourism also creates links with many other economic sectors and positions it as a valuable contributor to national development strategies and support for entrepreneurs, the backbone of the sector. Tourism has been one of the key factors enabling the graduation of LDCs that are also small island developing States,
The UN Conference brought together Heads of State, governments, civil society organizations, businessmen, students, youth and political leaders. In Doha, UNWTO participated in the UN Heads Meeting, various high-level events and thematic roundtables with industry partners, to help finance, build commitment and strengthen long-term sustainable support for LDCs. Key issues raised included climate action, innovation, new financing mechanisms, education, youth empowerment, digitization and capacity building.
Private Sector Partnerships
Within the Private Sector Forum Sustainable Tourism Session "Achieving Universal Access to Affordable Clean Energy through Partnerships" co-organized by UNWTO, participants included distinguished representatives from the TUI Care Foundation, the Ministry Tourism Board of Saudi Arabia and the Asian Development Bank. Discussions focused on the potential for innovative partnerships to support sustainable recovery, shape better policies and tax incentives for the private sector to recover. UNWTO was proud to announce the 'Tourism for Development Fund' for the Least Developed Countries which supports projects in LDCs with at least €10 million until 2030 in collaboration with the TUI Care Foundation.
UNWTO also organized a special side event on “Harnessing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Tourism as Tools for Sustainable Development in LDCs” with the support of Qatar Tourism. Here, startups from the UNWTO Global SDG Startup Contest presented their solutions to help drive change in their countries along with a panel discussion on how innovation and partnerships in tourism can accelerate economic development. . New participating companies included SEMA (Uganda), Community Homestay Network (Nepal), At house Ltd. (Uganda).
Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel said: “By 2030, Qatar Tourism aims to triple visitor numbers to the destination to more than six million visitors a year, increase spending by three to four times and grow travel and tourism. contribution of the sector to GDP from 7 to 12%. Most importantly, we want to double employment in the tourism sector, all while continuing to position Qatar as a world leader in service excellence. To achieve this ambitious goal, Qatar Tourism aims to boost the entire tourism value chain, increase demand from local and international visitors, attract investment from the sector and drive a multiplier effect throughout the national economy."
LDC5 represents a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the world's most vulnerable to realign with global priorities. UNWTO is fully committed to accelerating the implementation of the Doha Agenda for Action, focusing on innovation, digitization and new financing models to support economic growth and graduation in least developed countries.