Countries / Territories


  • ITC and UNWTO

    ITC and UNWTO have entered a strategic partnership to aggregate the two organizations’ resources and competencies and to share perspectives in the process of rethinking a joint approach to Aid for Trade (AfT) in tourism. The partnership also aims at having a more integrated and innovative approach of tourism development for inclusive growth, leading to the achievement of all dimensions of sustainable development for developed countries. A MoU was signed by the heads of the two agencies at the occasion of the UNWTO General Assembly in Medellin. 

    To access the special edition of ITC’s Global Services Network on international tourism, click here.

    The International Trade Centre (ITC) enhances the competitiveness of the tourism sector in order to strengthen its contribution to sustainable development. ITC’s specific competence lies in its trade orientation and its mandate to work with the private sector, especially for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) internationalization. For destinations with a priority on increasing the impact of their international trade in tourism, ITC offers holistic solutions in aid for trade in tourism including tourism export strategy, customized data analysis, public private dialogue, SME competitiveness development, industry linkages, and a focus on sustainabilityand inclusion.

    Tourism and Development

    International tourism accounts for roughly 30 percent of global trade in services. For many developing countries, tourism is far more important than this global average figure suggests. It constitutes the single largest foreign exchange earner, generating a net surplus in travel services.

    Tourism is a sector predominantly driven by SMEs and is particularly valuable as an agent for development and as a driver for socio-economic progress. Tourism encompasses a wide range of goods and services sectors and generates multiplier effects across many sub-activities in the value chain. These activities are interlinked with many other activities across the economy and have trickle-down effects that benefit local and marginalized communities.

    Tourism is explicitly mentioned in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8, 12 and 14 highlighting the sector’s potential to contribute to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental preservation.

    ITC’s offering

    ITC has developed and implemented tourism projects for almost 10 years in an Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and Aid for Trade (AfT) umbrella. Countries in which ITC has intervened include Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Lao, Mozambique, Benin, Viet Nam and El Salvador. These projects develop export strategies, enhance hotel services, increase the use of local produce by the tourism industry and strengthen the networks of local actors in tourist areas. Currently projects are active in Lao, Myanmar and Tanzania.

    ITC’s approach to tourism focuses on increasing links to local markets, significantly expanding product offering to potential tourists, attracting investment and creating jobs at scale. The ultimate objective is to increase tourist arrivals and to maximize the sector’s contribution to sustainable development.


    UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

    ITC has entered into a strategic partnership with the UNWTO in order to aggregate the two organizations’ resources, to share perspectives in the process of rethinking a joint approach to Aid for Trade in Tourism, and to catalyse greater donor interest in funding tourism activities. The partnership also aims at giving tourism a high contribution to inclusive growth.

    The partnership has been formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that entered into force on September 14, 2015.

    Increased coordination among donors and implementing agencies can help create comprehensive integrated tourism projects that are more effective in enhancing tourism’s contribution to sustainable development.

    United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (UN-SCTD)

    ITC is one of the 10 leading agencies of the United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (UN-SCTD), an innovative approach to Delivering as One for Tourism. It is a partnership bringing together ten UN agencies committed to mainstreaming tourism in the global development agenda. The UN-SCTD’s supports the needs of developing countries to implement tourism for development through an integrated approach by providing guidance, monitoring progress and mobilizing necessary financial resources.

    Inclusive Tourism in Myanmar

    ITC’s inclusive tourism project in Myanmar aims to create jobs in the Myanmar tourism sector with a focus on Kayah State. The project increases incomes of enterprises and local communities by enhancing the competitiveness of Myanmar’s tourism industry and related supply chains, especially at the Kayah state level, ultimately contributing to sustainable economic development.

    Inclusive Tourism in Lao PDR

    The project, implemented from 2011 to 2017, is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Fully embedded within Lao PDR’s National Integrated Framework Governance Structure, the project addresses four main technical cooperation areas:


    • Developing a competitive and sustainable tourism industryƒ
    • Strengthening the linkages of handicraft (especially silk) and organic/clean agriculture to the tourism industryƒ
    • Facilitating exports to regional markets and meeting international requirements for target sectorsƒ
    • Addressing cross-cutting issues concerning cleaner production, strengthening the local trade related forums and task forces (NIFGS) and supporting the government in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies (DTIS) update processƒ


    The project is delivered by a cluster of UN agencies (UNCTAD, UNIDO, ITC, ILO, and UNOPS) according to their core competencies. ITC and UNCTAD shared the responsibility of building backward linkages from the tourism sector to local silk and organic agriculture producers and strengthening the capacities of the Government of Laos in the areas of trade policy and Non-Tariff Measures.




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