The Tourism for Development Steering Committee was established in 2011 at the LDC IV conference in Istanbul, Turkey, to help countries find solutions for poor communities and create jobs by developing tourism. SCTD member organizations have jointly developed the Portfolio of Tourism Development Services to highlight existing technical assistance opportunities for interested public and private stakeholders in developing countries. ITC Tourism ServicesA number of LDCs have identified the integration of products from poor communities into tourism value chains as a development priority. ITC provides tourism services to promote links between the existing tourism sector and marginalized small and micro-producers. For more information on the ITC`s approach to the tourism sector, visit ITC Tourism. The resumption of the 2008 global economic crisis was a challenge for the least developed countries, as their performance remains undermined by external economic conditions. The economic growth of LDCs as a group has been worse in the last three years than in the pre-crisis period, when, between 2002 and 2008, they experienced average growth rates of 7.9%. Despite a positive recovery in 2010, with a 5.6% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) in real terms, the group slowed down in 2011 and grew by only 4.2%. Overall international trade trends show that the trade deficit of LDCs as a whole amounted to 5.7% of GDP in 2011 and decreased by 6.1% of GDP in 2010. The value of exports from countries most affected by the crisis in 2009 exceeded its pre-crisis level and increased by 20% in 2011. However, the improvement in export growth is mainly due to some oil-exporting LDCs, which reduces the performance of the group as a whole when oil is excluded from the calculation.
Because LDCs have less diversified economies, they depend on a limited range of exports, often primary raw materials. While net commodity exporters have benefited from higher prices over the 2009-2011 period, price volatility in some commodities remains a major problem, creating a high vulnerability to exporters` performance.