Promoting sustainable economic growth

Switzerland is working for a stable economic and financial environment. This is a key area of activity for Switzerland, with job creation and the development of financial services at its centre. Efforts in the tourism sector, collaboration with the private sector and education reforms delivered encouraging results in 2017.

 SECO-backed tourism project in the Dahar region in Tunisia
SECO promotes sustainable tourism in Tunisia. © Dahar Destination

More and better jobs thanks to tourism

In the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Switzerland showed clearly how tourism projects in developing countries create jobs and so help to alleviate poverty. Public-private partnerships, innovative technologies and better working conditions are determining factors.

In Switzerland, when we think of tourism, we think of holidays and travel. We fly around the world to experience distant locations and foreign cultures. Developing countries are also popular destinations. In recent years, almost half of tourists worldwide visited developing countries – a growing trend.  To developing countries, tourism isn't about leisure. Tourism means jobs, incomes and a way out of poverty.

Local prospects

One in ten people worldwide work in tourism. This sector is growing especially fast in developing countries. In Vietnam and Indonesia, the number of tourists is growing by 9% annually. In the poorest countries, tourism is already the main source of income.

SECO is working to ensure that foreign travel creates jobs for local people in partner countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia and Peru. Economic, ecological and social considerations are key.

Economic development in poorer regions

By 2020 Indonesia's government intends to create 10 'new Balis' to boost economic development and attract investment to the country. Indonesia's top destinations have long found it difficult to handle the negative side-effects of mass tourism and ensure that development also benefits local people. SECO's tourism projects therefore mainly seek to strengthen the economies of poorer regions. An example in Indonesia is the WISATA II project, which brings private business, the authorities and village communities together to promote poorer regions as tourist destinations. In parallel, the project advises the authorities how to steer development towards social and environmental sustainability criteria. Similar public-private cooperation models have proven very successful in Switzerland in the past.

Environmentally friendly thanks to cleaner production

SECO aims to help tourism make the most of natural and cultural heritage, while protecting, maintaining and developing these resources. For example, the now-completed Cleaner Production Centres project promoted innovative, cleaner technologies in Tunisia. The centres enabled large hotels to make use of new production methods to lower energy and water costs and dispose of waste in a more environmentally friendly way. The hotels that implemented the measures received the 'Travelife' sustainable tourism certification to help them to attract more environmentally aware guests. 

More quality of life thanks to better working conditions

Sustainable employment also takes social aspects into account and ensures that jobs do not have a negative impact on workers. SCORE is a SECO-supported programme that seeks to create sustainable employment. This International Labour Organization (ILO) programme provides training to small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their compliance with international standards. SCORE training shows the companies how they can work together better to improve working conditions and productivity. SCORE is working to ensure compliance with ethical trading standards, such as the standard against the sexual exploitation of children.

SECO objective: more and better jobs

SECO is working in its partner countries to create more jobs, better working conditions and business-enabling environments. This will enable sustainable economic growth for the benefit of all sections of society without compromising the prosperity of future generations.

Policy Paper on Tourism, Economic Cooperation for Sustainable Tourism Development, SECO

SCORE Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (en)

From the hills of Honduras to the supermarket shelves

Anton von Weissenfluh stands at a conveyor belt transporting cacao beans
© Coop

A versatile superfood, chocolate is a favourite with consumers all over the world. The SDC is supporting the development of the cacao sector in Honduras because it is a crop which creates prospects and generates income for small-scale farmers.

Better career prospects for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina

A young man stands at a workbench operating a lever.

Switzerland supports vocational education and training in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The vocational courses are designed to give young people practical training geared to employers' expectations.

Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU

Three young women apprentices working in a bakery.

Through its contribution to new EU countries, Switzerland has been helping since 2007 to reduce economic and social disparities within the enlarged EU. At the same time Switzerland's contribution strengthens its bilateral relations with the new EU member states.