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Smart Tourism Investment as a Growth Engine for Central America and the Dominican Republic

Date: 07 Dec 2015

Time: 9:00 AM

Location: Washington, DC, United States

Venue: Auditorium, Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center

Tourism has been a leading sector in Central America. Overall GDP performance in the region has been weak relative to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as a whole and, but tourism has been one of the most dynamic sectors (with earnings trebling in the past decade), driving economic growth, poverty reduction and longer-term development prospects, particularly for smaller economies and within depressed regions.

Central American tourism has huge potential for further growth, with its substantial underexploited resource endowments (including long coastlines, coral reefs and, inland nature reserves with rich flora and fauna), a favorable climate and rich cultural heritage, as well as the proximity to the US, one of the world’s top spenders in international tourism.

The region needs more private sector investment and innovation to increase the industry’s physical capacity and competitiveness by deepening connectivity with existing and potential origin markets (through transport, communication and marketing links), and developing appropriate tourism products for each destination.

Regional policymakers need to understand the many factors that determine the growth and benefits of tourism. As noted in the IDB's 2014 Tourism Sector Framework Document, tourism’s contribution to growth and sustainable development depends on economic linkages, spillovers and externalities as well as the volume of investment and number of visitors. To stimulate the most beneficial investment the authorities need to develop a fuller- dialogue with the private sector. On the one hand, private operators need to communicate their constraints, strategic perspectives, motivations and requirements to government bodies; and on the other, public officials need ¨smarter¨ analytical tools to identify appropriate productive development policies to stimulate the industry’s growth and contribution to development.

This Technical Workshop will provide the opportunity for: (a) private sector actors to explain their priorities, regulatory requirements and expectations to public sector, IDB, academic and NGO representatives; (b) Central American Governments to describe their countries’ objectives and needs, the policies in place to attract tourism investment and their prospects on the social and economic returns expected from the sector; and (c) launching a major IDB region-wide study of what is required to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to Central America’s economic and social development (in line with the IDB’s Tourism Sector Framework Document).

For more information please contact CAEvent@iadb.org

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