Chapter 5: Redirecting International Tourism

from State of the World 2002

Author: Lisa Mastny

Today's travelers are trading in over-commercialized mass tourism for new cultural and nature-based experiences, many of which are found in the developing world. One in every five international tourists now travels from an industrial country to a developing one, up from one in 13 in the mid 1970s. In the last decade alone, international tourism arrivals worldwide have increased by nearly 40 percent.

This tourism boom has generated much-needed revenue and employment at many destinations. But it has also brought a host of environmental, social, and cultural problems. On average, half of the tourism revenue that enters the developing world "leaks" back out, going to foreign owned companies or to pay for imported goods and labor. Many participants in the tourism industry-including businesses, governments, local communities, and tourists-are beginning to take important steps to redirect tourism, from implementing regulations to boosting tourist awareness.

World Summit Priorities: Formulating comprehensive, multi-stakeholder plans for tourism development; balancing large tourism investments with smaller-scale, locally-run tourism initiatives; and developing stronger regulations and policies to protect destinations against unsustainable tourism developments.


  • A Global Industry
  • A Force for Development?
  • Environmental Impacts of Tourism
  • Ecotourism—Friend or Foe?
  • Toward a Sustainable Tourism Industry