Development Analysis Network - July 2007
Pro-Poor Tourism In The Greater Mekong Sub-Region
English 257 pp.

Foreword 

This study of pro-poor tourism in five countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region comes at an important time. As the report emphasises, in the past 10 years tourism has become, or continues to be, a significant driver of economic growth and development in all the participating countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan province of China. At the same time, the governments of the less developed of these countries, in partnership with their international development partners, the private sector and other development stakeholders, are working together to achieve more effective poverty reduction outcomes.

For government policy makers and the private sector in these countries, the existing and potentially greater linkage between these two issues, tourism and poverty reduction, present both an opportunity and a challenge. This study explores two important questions – How can tourism, the policy environment that enables and promotes it, and the private sector that drives it, be more ‘pro-poor’? How can tourism contribute more effectively to poverty reduction in local communities through opportunities for employment and related vocational education, enhancement of agricultural and other local production of goods and services, and access to tourism-related markets for local products?

We see this study of pro-poor tourism as a first step in looking in more depth at some of the issues and policy options it raises, and, at both the national and  sub-regional levels, working more closely with governments and the private sector to identify useful entrepreneurial models and policy initiatives for tourism that will be more ‘pro-poor’ in their impacts. Such collaborative research and ‘policy influencing’ will become even more important as the pace of sub-regional integration in the GMS quickens, with significant progress in the deepening of regional integration through infrastructure improvement, the cross-border movements of people, and related national and sub-regional aviation and tourism policy making.

The Development Analysis Network (DAN), coordinated by CDRI, is well placed to conduct such a study. Now in its sixth year of joint research, DAN has proven to be an effective and flexible collaboration between leading research and policy institutes in the GMS sub-region. Its character as a network - voluntary, genuinely collaborative, locally demand-driven and owned, means that it can make a useful and relevant contribution to sub-regional research collaboration, regional integration and community building.

In releasing this study of pro-poor tourism in the GMS, CDRI and its partner DAN institutes would like to express its gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, and its Southeast Asia Office, for their strong commitment to and understanding of the importance of sub-regional and regional integration, and for their financial support and intellectual partnership in conducting quality policy-relevant research in the GMS.

Larry Strange
Executive Director, CDRI
July 2007