Countries / Territories

WEDF 2011 - Summary

  • WEDF 2011

    Private sector engagement with LDCs for tourism-led growth and inclusive sustainable development

    10-11 May 2011 - Istanbul, Turkey

    The 2011 World Export Development Forum (WEDF), the flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC) focused on solutions for developing sustainable tourism in least developed countries. The event took place from 10-11 May in Istanbul, Turkey within the framework of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV). The LDC-IV is the United Nation’s largest conference, held every ten years to adopt measures and strategies toward sustainable development.

    This year’s event, held under the theme, Private Sector Engagement with LDCs for Tourism-led Growth and Inclusive Sustainable Development, brought together high-level tourism experts from the private and public sector to share their expertise in plenary sessions and develop specific pilot projects in four workshops. Tourism has been identified as a priority sector for development by 90% of LDCs and it is already a major export earner for many of them. It creates jobs and is becoming a significant industry worldwide, with a direct link to poverty eradication.

    The key messages that emerged from discussions at WEDF 2011 included:

    • Tourism should be approached in a sustainable manner;
    • It is important to prioritize tourism in development strategies;
    • There is an absolute need for security and political stability;
    • A circuit approach involving regional partners is highly desirable;
    • The role of the state in policy, legal and regulation creation is essential, but there is also a need to reduce bureaucracy and streamline licensing processes;
    • The empowerment of local communities and their sharing in benefits of tourism is critical;
    • Public-private partnerships are essential;
    • The issue of retention of earnings and reduction of leakages is one that confounds most LDCs;
    • Training and human capacity development must be a high priority;
    • Coordination and coherence with other economic sectors is important;
    • Effective marketing and positioning strategies are important to achieve successful branding and create a niche in the market;
    • Learning from the experiences of other countries and sharing success stories is an important ingredient.


    In announcing this year’s WEDF, ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis commented, ‘Tourism-led growth and development is a key way for LDCs to strengthen their economies. For example, the Maldives, where tourism accounts for 30% of GDP, have recently graduated from their status of Least Developed Country. It is possible for other countries to follow suit with the right interest from the private sector and guidance from private and public sector partners.’

    ITC worked with its supporting partner, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and other agencies to bring together high-level tourism experts from the private sector and the public sector to find solutions to tourism challenges.

    Click here to download the programme in pdf.

    For more information on LDC-IV please visit http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/ldc/home;

    WEDF banner home page

    In preparation for the WEDF, representatives from the public and private sectors including Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, H.E. Najib Balala (upper left photo), Ethical Fashion Africa’ Jane Kabura (bottom right photo) and Uganda Export Promotion Board’ Florence Kata (upper left and bottom right photo) gathered in Nairobi for two days of groundbreaking discussions themed on tourism-led growth and inclusive sustainable development.

    Supporting Partners:

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    WEDF 2011 - Photo gallery