Global perspectives on bridging the North-South divide: sustainable tourism development and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals

Hon. Gil da Costa Alves, Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Timor-Leste (East Timor)

Born on September 17, 1958, at Maubara sub-district, Timor-Leste, Mr. Alves married to Aida Osorio Soares, the couple has five sons and one daughter.

Mr. Alves attended elementary school at Seminary of Nossa Senhora de Fatima at Dare and his Senior High School at Dr. Francisco Machado School in Dili (capital of Timor-Leste).

In 1985, Mr. Alves finished his diploma in economics at University of Atma Jaya, Jakarta (Indonesia) and because of his outstanding result the government of Indonesia granted him scholarship program to carry on his bachelor degree in Economics and Management at Atma Jaya University in Yogyakarta (Indonesia), in 1997 he completed his bachelor degree with excellent grade point average 3.47, as a result of tremendous outcome in the university he become a tutor in the Faculty of Economics at Atma Jaya University in 1990-1993.

In 2002, Mr. Alves finished his Master degree in Business Administration at Indonesia Management Institute, Surabaya/East Java (Indonesia) – Fellowship of the Kennedy Western University, Wyoming, the United State of America with Grade Point Average (GPA) 3.5.

Mr. Alves is currently as a Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry in the 4th constitutional government of Timor-Leste as well as he is still in charge of vice president of Timor-Leste Entrepreneur Association.


In 2002, Timor gained its independency from Indonesia. The new country needed to be build from scratch since its infrastructure was destroyed in 1999; therefore, it was a big challenge to rebuild the country.

The country’s main income is from oil and gas extractions but it recognizes that this might/will decrease in the future. Therefore the government currently prioritizes the tourism industry and lots of investments are made in this industry. There is a recognition that the country’s scuba dive possibilities, the un-spoilt beaches and the rainforest are assets that can be tapped. Timorese are leaning towards eco-tourism and sustainable tourism, with environmental and cultural safeguards at its heart. A key consideration will be to ensure that it is local people and the local economy that benefit rather than outside investors.

East-Timor is facing challenges to develop the tourism industry. In the field of HRM, people need to be educated and motivated to work in the tourism industry (awareness and participation). In the field of product development decisions have to be made (a clear identity and image have to be decided upon and promoted).

For a developing country as East-Timor achieving the Millennium Goals is very important. Tourism is seen as a way of reaching these. Also sustainability and the environment are important. The environmental surroundings of East-Timor is its main touristic product. There is however a complex relation between the environment as the main resource which is used to tourism purposes and the waste and pollution which is caused by tourism. When pollution the environment, tourism will decrease. Therefore there is a need for a sustainable approach.

The ‘South’ could build bridges to the ‘North’ to receive income from tourism in the future. Therefore the division can be minimalized.


Kathy Sudeikis, Immediate Past President American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), and 2008 Travel Agent of the Year

No biography available at this time.


As the past president of ASTA, Ms. Sudeikis explains that ASTA has taken the initiative to reward travel agents and suppliers which are showing responsibility for the environment. These organizations can join the ASTA Green Member Program. In order to join they have to meet several guidelines, which enhance sustainable tourism. On the other hand this program helps and educates organizations with guidelines for sustainable development.

An atmosphere should be developed which values sustainable developments. Instead of giving travelers the feeling that they are damaging and harming the environment while traveling, alternatives should be offered. When providing travelers with ‘green’ options they can make green decisions for themselves. Educating travelers is also an important step in sustainable developments. Informing travelers about the impact of their decision.

An often-made statement is that it is better not to travel at all. This will prevent the environment from being damaged. The tourism industry is not the most important catalyst for the climate changes. Moreover the tourism industry has lots of positive impacts; travel builds relations, travel opens people’s eyes and contributes to an understanding of others.


Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, MP, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Republic of Namibia

Born in northern Namibia on 29 October 1952, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is married with three children.

Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah is a holder of a Masters Degree in Diplomatic Studies from Keele University in the United Kingdom. She has also obtained Post Graduate Diplomas in International Relations and Public Administration and Management from Keele University and Glasgow College of Technology respectively.

Her political career started in 1966 when she joined SWAPO. In 1969, she served as Chairperson of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO Youth League in Northern Namibia till 1974, when she left the country at the age of 22 to join SWAPO in exile to fight for Namibia’s independence.

While in exile, Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah served as a member of the SWAPO Central Committee from 1976 - 1987. From 1976 - 1978, she was the Deputy Chief Representative of SWAPO for Central Africa and Chief Representative for Central Africa from 1978 - 1980 based in Lusaka, Zambia. She also served as Chief Representative of SWAPO in East Africa and the OAU Liberation Committee based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 1980 - 1986. At the first Congress of SWAPO, held in independent Namibia, she was elected to the Central Committee of SWAPO Party, served in Political Bureau from 2002 - 2007 and held a position of SWAPO Party Deputy Secretary General in 1996.

She returned to Namibia in 1989 and following Independence in 1990, she was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. She served in this capacity until she was appointed Director-General of the department of Women Affairs, with Ministerial Rank, in the Office of the President from 1996 - 2000.

Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah was the Rapporteur General of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. In preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women, she served as the Chief Negotiator for the African Group during the preparations for the Conference. She was also Chairperson of the National Preparatory Committee for the Fourth World Conference on Women and led the Namibian delegation to the Conference.

In 2000, Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah was deputy head of the Namibian delegation to the Twenty-third Special Session of the UN General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century.”

Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah served as a Minister of Women Affairs and Child Welfare from 2000 - 2005. She has played a pivotal role in advocating for the protection of the rights of women and children. As President of the Namibian National Women’s Organization (NANAWO), she worked with the Law Reform Commission to promote the adoption of national legislations on Married Persons Equality and Domestic Violence. She initiated the discussion in the UN Security Council on women and peace that led to the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah is the current Minister of Information and Broadcasting since 2005. She has been a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Namibia since 1990.

She is an avid reader with interests in netball and squash.


Tourism is important for the GNP of Namibia. Now Africa is only attracting 3% of the world tourism spending and this is caused by the African image. Tourism can be a tool to change this image. Besides this tourism can also be used to decrease the North-South division, healing the wounds of conflict, poverty reduction and establish peace. For African countries the reduction of poverty is one of the most important Millennium Goals and tourism is used to improve this.

By empowering and education woman and children developments are made – with education the circle of poverty can be broken.

Climate changes are visible all over the world. These changes do not take into account the division between North and South.

Under the guidance of the Ministry ‘conservancies’ are formed in Namibia These conservancies emphasize the role of local residents in decision making about natural resources. This legal framework was established in the Nature Conservation Amendment Act of 1996. This Act constitutes a structure through which control, ownership, and use of plant and animal wildlife is given to communal area residents. People residing within the communal area organize themselves and then apply for their land area to be declared a conservancy. They must have in place: 1) an elected representative committee and provide the names of members; 2) a legal constitution that provides for sustainable management and use of wildlife; 3) an equitable benefit distribution plan for members; and, 4) the conservancy must have clearly defined boundaries that are not in dispute with neighbors. Once the community meets these conditions and a note advertising their claim is published in a government gazette, the conservancy committee, on behalf of the entire community, receives conditional and limited rights and duties. The goal is to enable members of such a community to derive benefits from the consumptive and non-consumptive use and sustainable management of wildlife in the area.

With this Namibia developed a community-based program where the community benefits from the natural resources of the country. This leads to economical benefits, which are returned to the community again.