International tourism has become one of the main economic activities and an important role of job creation and economic growth in many countries. It has therefore been given much attention in the national development strategies of many developing countries and placed on the agenda of many recent international conferences on sustainable development. Failing to include tourism in these strategies is to overlook the fact that it presents one of the biggest and, undoubtedly, the most diversified and creative economic activity of all.
Considering their rich and diverse natural, geographic, historical and cultural heritage assets, the OIC countries, as a group, have in fact a high potential for the development of a sustainable international tourism sector. However, considering the modest share of the OIC region in the world tourism market and the concentration of the tourism activity in only a few OIC countries, it seems that a large part of the tourism potential of the OIC region remains unutilised.
The problems facing tourism and the development of a sustainable international tourism sector in the OIC countries are less trained human resources, poor governance as well as low quality services. In order to enhance the sector and share experince regarding tourism and the challenges involved, the Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) initiates training courses related to tourism within the frame of the OIC Capacity Building Programme.