Tourism and the general agreement on trade in services: Sustainability and other developmental concerns
Babu P. George
Tony L. Henthorne
Purpose – The paper is developed around, and aims to focus on, the possible impacts of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) for sustainable development of tourism, especially in the context of the third world. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is an exploration of the issues. Findings – Findings generally imply that the historical development of GATS is not in tune with the aspirations of the small and medium scale enterprises in tourism, especially those located in the South. The agreements show only scant regard for the principles of sustainable development, too. Practical implications – On a pragmatic level, the paper highlights the opportunities and threats to the stakeholders. It focuses on the most disadvantaged ones in tourism development and provides a set of guidelines for informed action. Originality/value – The paper tries to explain the meaning and intent of technical and arcane treaty clauses in understandable terms and provide a set of guidelines within which the treaty has to be structured for the best results. The paper offers valuable inputs for the negotiators, the tourism business community, the NGOs, the governments, and other stakeholder groups.
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