The OLACT seeks to exploit the synergies generated by the cooperation, exchange and interaction among the Latin American and Caribbean countries in the tourism area. The Organization’s goal is to strengthen the tourism industry through three main activities:
The tourism industry is vulnerable to various external shocks such as climate change, natural disasters, and economic crises. In order to respond quickly to such unforeseen factors, the industry has to be well informed about successful problem solving methods used elsewhere in the region in response to similar situations. As such, the exchange of experience and know-how through training provides the necessary tools for players to identify potential problems, and implement prevention methods and solutions to these in a rigorous manner.
The training component of the OLACT seeks to:
* Strengthen the operational capabilities of the organizations involved in tourism development;
* Increase the skills of professionals;
* Share knowledge and experiences in Latin America;
* Improving the region’s response to new global context;
* Strengthen the know-how (expertise) in the region;
* Maximize the sharing of knowledge to professional and technical levels.
The innate transversal nature of the tourism industry requires the OLACT’s training component to be multidisciplinary and multisectoral. More specifically the department of training will focus on four key aspects of the tourism industy:
* management and governance of different touristic destinations;
* sustainability (quality of social, cultural, environmental and economic development);
* improvement in the services and activities provided by different sectors (hotels, restaurants, distribution links, transportation, etc.); and
* appropriate use of information and communication technologies by the tourism industry (in accordance with the technology component of the OLACT).
The technology component of the OLACT seeks to create a bridge between the developers of new technologies and public and private sector buyers to improve the marketing of inventions in the region and to encourage the modernization of the existing infrastructures. The priority of this component lies with the systems, techniques and products that further the sustainable development of tourism, and promote the efficient utilization of resources and environmental protection.
The mission of the technology department is to create a meeting place through a virtual platform and through live events where players of the tourism industry, public and private service providers find and supply of technology products and innovative approaches to the following three areas:
* Sustainable technology
* Information technology and communication,
* Organizational technology
Latin America and the Caribbean offer a vast choice of culturally and geographically rich destinations to avid travelers from all over the world. The region is currently home to 519 million inhabitants and it is estimated that the regional population will increase to 697 million people by 2025. This is almost equal to the projected population of Europe (702 million people) and nearly that of North America (364 million people).1
In 2009 only the region attracted some 48.5 million2 international tourists and earned approximately US$46 billion3 in revenues from tourism. However, Latin American and Caribbean tourism industry remains well behind the European and North American activity, in terms of number of visitors received and revenues generated, as well as its diversification. The role played by the blatant lack of investment in diversification and sustainable tourism projects should not be underestimated.
In any industry the insufficient funding constitutes one of the biggest obstacles to innovation and growth. The tourism industry suffers from this problem in particular due to the lack of recognition of the industry as such and the compartmentalization of tourism activities into other sectors like infrastructure, transportation and energy.
The overall objective of OLACT’s Financing Department (FD) is to close the financing gap mentioned above and act as a bridge between its members and local and international donors and financial institutions. The FD will assist its members in accessing their financing needs for sustainable tourism development, infrastructure and education projects.
In terms of financing, the added value brought by the OLACT is its knowledge of different donor organizations and financial institutions. As such, OLACT members will not have to shop around for financial resources and will receive assistance when applying for grants or credits. They will be provided assistance to choose and qualify for the appropriate institution, be informed of the right time to apply for grant and receive follow up services.
Services offered to the members of OLACT by the Department of Financing:
– Assistance in the identification of members’ investment priorities and their prioritisation with a view of developing a sustainable tourism sector in their respective regions;
– Identification of potential local and international donors and financial institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations;
– Members only access to a donor/creditor database (coming soon);
– Matching members with local and international donors and financial institutions according to the scope of their investment projects and financial needs;
– Assistance in the preparation of funding applications; and
– Liaison during negotiations between members and international donors and financial institutions.
For further information please contact:
Ms. Suna Ekmekcioglu
2- UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, August 2010
3- UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, April 2010