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Resource Center
Is India Trying to Subdue Kashmir Through Religious Tourism? 
July 17, 2018
The Indian state under the increasing influence of Hindu nationalism is using Hindu pilgrimage sites..
“Aswachh Bharat” marks Amarnath yatra 
July 15, 2018

Tourism and Plastic: Exploring the Contours 

June 04, 2018
The threat that plastic poses to the health of the planet has been raising alarm bells for some time..
As Women, Are We Really Economically Empowered A view from the point of view of Tourism 
April 10, 2018

Do we enjoy the same quality of life as our male counterparts? How can we, when the figures of women..

Meet the Majid Squad, a Group that Voluntarily Cleans Filth on Amarnath Yatra Routes 
January 29, 2018
Notwithstanding the National Green Tribunal directions, Governor N N Vohra recently decided that a 60-day-long..
  • Key Interventions
  • Resources
  • Overview

Here you can find the Key Interventions (Campaigns, Events and Other Interventions) related to this Thematic Area. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Key Intervention.


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"Here you can find Resources (Papers, Publications and Presentations) linked to this Thematic Area. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Resource. Please do acknowledge EQUATIONS when quoting from or using these resources in any manner.


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The programme Economic Impacts and Tourism aims to evaluate the implications of international trade and economic policy on the tourism development and consequent impact on local communities. EQUATIONS has engaged with the issues of impact of globalisation, trade and investment policies on tourism development since the early nineties. The thrust of our work has been to understand relevant international processes influencing tourism and sustainable development and make the links to micro level impacts. We also aim to influence the policies of intergovernmental agencies like the World Tourism Organisation, CBD, CSD and UN bodies to reflect concerns emerging from the ground. The economic aspects of tourism, the structure of the industry, its real economic contribution, structures of taxes and subsidies and issues of corporate behaviour and accountability are also on the radar of the programme. The programme situates this within an analysis of economic frameworks such as neo-liberalism and corporate globalisation.

ADB Accelerating poverty in Asia and Pacific Our chief tools have been research, monitoring, networking and campaign and advocacy. The research challenge has been to draw links between tourism and other sectors and make tourism an issue of campaign and advocacy within the trade debate. Our research has always drawn from alert and constant monitoring of news and developments on the government’s trade negotiating position, industry lobbying and new agreements, plans for investment and trade in tourism.

In 1992-93 the question of new economic policies and the service sector became a critical issue. Internal economic policy shifts of structural adjustment, liberalisation and external shifts such as the multilateral negotiations on the GATS. We worked closely with YATNA a public interest research group in Bangalore identifying specific aspects of the New Economic Policy which had implications on services and tourism. Three critical workshops were organised  in 1994, the first on GATT and Services with Dr Biswajit Dhar (RIS New Delhi), the second with Prof  Ward Morehouse (President, Council on International and Public Affairs New York ) on the New World Trade Order, and third a symposium on the Union Budget 1994.

EQUATIONS has engaged with the issues of impact of globalisation, trade and investment policies on tourism development since the early nineties, and in line with this emphasis our programme was called GATS and Tourism. (This later changed to Globalisation Impacts and Tourism in 2005). Using the web of tourism to understand International Trade Agreements (in particular the General Agreement on Trade in Services GATS) EQUATIONS had noted in  1991 (when the  Uruguay Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisation was in its final stages) that tourism services was high on the priority of the proposed agreement on Services. Our first study on the GATS –“Draft statement on the General Agreement on Trade in Services”, (1995) expressed concerns about the ability of governments to design independent policies based on their developmental priorities.

Make Tourism a GATS Free Zone A later study “Tourism at the Crossroads - Challenges to Developing countries by the New World Trade Order”- EQUATIONS, epd- Entwicklungspolitick and Tourism Watch, (1999) threw more light on the implications of a WTO governed tourism trade and delineated the background, context and implications of trade liberalisation in the tourism sector for countries of the South. The contentious issues included foreign exchange leakages, the myth of transfer of technology, and social and environmental concerns. This was presented at the ITB Berlin in 1999.

Post the Seattle ministerial, we hosted an international consultation on GATS and Tourism in February 2000 in New Delhi which brought together tourism activists, academics and trade unionists for stocktaking and strategising on the implications of the mandated GATS negotiations and the impact of liberalisation on the Tourism Sector. The consultation invited experts on the World Trade Organisation processes, GATS, Economics, Services Sector and Tourism. The need to challenge and influence the policy of the government and ensure a multi stakeholder approach to formulating policies was evident. In Doha, Cancun and Hong Kong ministerial meetings of the WTO, EQUATIONS has had opportunities to input into the civil society processes. The UNCSD and UNCTAD and the UNWTO have also been organisations we have engaged with on trade and globalisation issues.

Tourism is not a Free Trade Zone

In 2003 the study “Weighing the GATS on a Development Scale: the case of tourism in Goa, India” threw more light on corporate behaviour in tourism and implications of the GATS. In 2005, EQUATIONS supported by EED-tourism Watch, Germany worked on “A WTO-GATS-Tourism Impact Assessment Framework for Developing Countries”. Much of our work, it is evident, has centred around the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) – analysing its implications, advocating concerns with negotiators, demystifying the agreement for social groups, movements, local governments and communities, building local, national and international alliances and networks to campaign against the WTO. However work on the GATS has enabled a deeper understanding, scrutiny and critique of India’s domestic economic policies, regulatory regimes, industry interests and lobbying and enabled us to examine underlying globalisation processes as well.

We also analysed the role of IFIs (International Financial Institutions) like World Bank and Asian Development Bank in structural adjustment of the economy, state development projects and policy reform. Other trade and economic policies have also come under the scanner – this includes analysing free trade agreements (FTA’s) Special Economic Zones (SEZs), in particular Special Tourism Zones (STZs) and other relevant national/international economic policies. EQUATIONS is one of the few organisations to work on the implications of trade on the tourism sector. We have also initiated and collaborated on research on taxes and subsidies, Small and Medium Enterprises and Corporate Monitoring.

Our networking objective has been to establish local channels of influence in order to affect national trade policy. Our constituencies have included panchayats, trade unions, other NGOs and movements, small and medium tourism industry, media and of course the national government. Our advocacy efforts have mainly been with the national government – Ministry of Commerce on trade & the Ministry of Tourism.

Click on the ‘Resources’ tab above to read Economic Impacts and Tourism Programme related papers, publications and presentations.

Click on the ‘Key Interventions’ tab above to know about Economic Impacts and Tourism Programme related campaigns, events and interventions.