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Ecuador, Nambija - Gold Mine 1990To invigorate the recovery of the Americas’ tourism sector, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) have joined forces, pioneering initiatives to propel sustainable investments in the region.

Amidst the 68th Regional Commission for the Americas meeting held in Quito, Ecuador, the UNWTO hosted the “Seminar on Sustainable Investments”. The seminar aimed to dissect the challenges and opportunities in fostering regional tourism investments. This event signifies the reinforcement of the UNWTO’s collaboration with CAF, aiming to bring together public and private sector leaders to stimulate investments in the tourism sector.Latin America

The UNWTO’s latest data depicts a good picture of the Americas’ tourism sector. International arrivals have regained 86% of 2019 levels by the end of the first quarter of this year. Foreign direct investment (FDI), which suffered a decline, is on the rebound, exhibiting signs of revitalization. Investment projects saw a surge of 185% between 2021 and 2022, reflecting a total value of $192.6 billion USD and indicating growing investor confidence in the region. In 2021, FDI experienced a surge to $134 billion, a year-on-year increase of 56%, recouping substantial ground lost in 2020.

Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Americas is paramount. The focus is on attracting investments that contribute towards achieving these goals. Establishing a robust multilateral regulatory framework is crucial in promoting sustainable investments, propelling the region’s progression towards the SDGs.

The Seminar on Sustainable Investments provided a high-level platform, inviting tourism ministers, investors, multilateral funds, regional economic communities, tourism technology start-ups, and the media to share good practices and knowledge. With a high level of political support, the seminar presented strategic frameworks that facilitate a conducive business environment in the region, fostered cooperation for sustainable investment frameworks, and promoted regional cooperation in streamlining sustainable tourism investment mechanisms.

Participants included representatives from the CAF, fDi Intelligence of the Financial Times, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and various investors and private sector representatives. They shared sustainable investment models in innovative infrastructure, further contributing to the discussions.

Earlier this year, UNWTO and CAF announced their collaboration to promote and retain investment in tourism across the Latin American and Caribbean region. In Quito, the two entities released the first edition of a series of investment guidelines titled “Tourism Doing Business”. The inaugural guide, “Investing in Ecuador,” seeks to lure FDI into Ecuador’s tourism sector by highlighting the country’s favourable conditions and economic solid recovery post-pandemic, demonstrated by a favourable 2.9% growth in 2022 and a 21.7% increase in FDI between 2021 and 2022.

As part of their partnership, UNWTO and CAF are developing tourism investment guides for five countries: Barbados, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, and Uruguay. This endeavour underlines their commitment to revitalising the region’s tourism sector, setting a new blueprint for tourism recovery and resilience in the face of future global challenges.

Visit the UNWTO’s website to learn more about their initiatives and the CAF’s website for their contribution to the region’s sustainable development.

Stay tuned for further updates on the progress of tourism investments in the Americas, the key to unlocking the region’s full potential in sustainable development.




Written by: Bridget Gomez