Tourism and the Millennium Development Goals: perspectives beyond 2015

Jarkko Saarinen, Christian M. Rogerson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


As 2015 approaches, debates about the contribution to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) are growing in momentum. The aim of this review is to interrogate the potential contributions of tourism to the UN MDGs, specifically of poverty alleviation, and of how the relationship between tourism development and the UN MDGs has been framed in existing scholarship. It is argued that whilst the global tourism industry potentially can contribute to economic development goals in destination regions, its impacts are ambivalent so that there is a growing concern surrounding the local benefits of global tourism including support for realisation of the UN MDGs. To avert the risks in the Global South of tourism-led development, the industry needs to be clearly positioned as a potential tool for, not at the end of local, regional, national and global development agendas. Several promising research avenues for interrogating tourism impacts for UN MDGs are identified. Issues relating to greening of tourism, inclusive business models and backward linkages offer a powerful policy-relevant agenda for tourism scholarship to move forward our understanding of the UN MDG objectives, which were originally set down in 2000, beyond 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Millennium Development Goals
  • development
  • inclusive business model
  • poverty alleviation
  • pro-poor tourism
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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