Poverty alleviation has become an essential condition for peace, environmental conservation and sustainable development, besides being an ethical obligation in an affluent world, where the divide between poor and rich nations seems to have increased in recent years. According to the UNDP 2006 Annual Report, 2.5 billion people live on less than US$ 2 a day. Despite a growing world economy many people in developing countries are not reaping the potential benefits of globalization.
The potential for tourism to play a significant role in the alleviation of poverty is increasingly recognised by international bodies and national governments. Its geographical expansion and labour intensive nature support a spread of employment and can be particularly relevant in remote and rural areas where many of the poor live. UNWTO statistics show the growing strength of the tourism industry for developing countries. In 2005, international tourism receipts for developing countries (low income, lower and upper middle income countries) amounted to US$ 203 billion. Tourism is one of the major export sectors of developing countries, and is the primary source of foreign exchange earnings in 46 of the 49 Least Developed Countries.
more at http://www.unwto.org/step/index.php