It is often said that unforgettable journeys filled with life-changing experiences start in the Indian Ocean region. Bounded by Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, the Indian Ocean Rim region prides itself with gorgeous beaches, magnificent turquoise waters, stunning islands, and breath-taking scenery, being frequently considered one of the most appealing marine destinations on Earth.
But that’s not all: the Indian Ocean region is also home to a melting pot of 2.5 billion beautiful people, one-third of the world's population, of diverse origins, cultures, languages and religions. One can see these influences at work throughout the realms of art, cuisine, music, dance, architecture, history, and more.
The economic relevance of tourism for the region makes harnessing its full potential essential for the advancement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Managed well, tourism can play a positive role in the social, cultural, economic and environmental development of the region and as such represents a significant development opportunity for countries in the Indian Ocean region. On the other hand, unchecked tourism development can lead to damaging impacts on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. The need for sustainable planning and management is thus imperative for countries in the region to maximise the benefits of a positive and sustainable tourism sector.
IORA promotes tourism and cultural exchanges by setting proposed policy directions for government cooperation and providing platforms for dialogue in promoting tourism amongst Member States, Dialogue Partners, and other international bodies.
The Jakarta Concord adopted by the IORA Heads of State and Government in March 2017 commits to fostering tourism and cultural exchanges by:
To achieve this, the IORA Member States developed the IORA Action Plan (2017-2021) which includes a set of specific and time-bound goals.