IDB launches programme to assist Latin America, Caribbean improve tourism sector

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC) — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched the “Future Tourism Programme” aimed at addressing the technological transformation of tourist destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as a key tool for the recovery and competitiveness of tourism in the region.

With financing from the General Cooperation Fund of Spain, the IDB said the Future Tourism Programme opens a regional call, inviting tourist destinations to benefit from a diagnosis of their level of technological maturity, to develop a detailed action plan and pre-investment agreement with public and private sector stakeholders.

Data released by the World Travel and Tourism Council shows that Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions where the tourism sector has had the greatest expansion, generating 10 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and nine per cent of employment in 2019.

But the IDB said the crisis generated by the novel coronavirus has affected the sector notably, producing a 50 per cent contraction of regional tourism GDP in 2020.

“In this context, the revitalisation of regional tourism is articulated as an essential step towards the recovery, and adoption of new technologies as the necessary engine of this process. The sustainable development goals consider new technologies as a basic element towards inclusion, sustainability, competitiveness, and economic development.”

The Washington-based financial institution said that from the proposals received until March 30, this year, it will select 10 destinations that meet a number of requirements and that all of its 26 member countries, including those in the Caribbean; namely, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are being invited to submit proposals.

It said the criteria would also include the type of eligible destinations taking into account consolidated destinations, not belonging to more than two municipalities, excluding national or regional circuits. The IDB said applicant destinations may be urban, coastal or nature destinations.

“This initiative is aligned with the IDB's Vision 2025 – Reinvesting in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunities to achieve sustainable recovery and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean,” it added.

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