UNWTO chief tells Tanzania to capitalize on Pan-African tourism conference

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(eTN) – The United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary General Dr.

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(eTN) – The United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai has advised Tanzania to capitalize on the forthcoming First Pan African Conference on Tourism to promote and market its attractive hotspots through the global participants expected to attend the event.

In his meeting with Tanzanian Minister for Tourism, Mr. Khamis Kagasheki, in Madrid Tuesday this week, Dr. Rifai said the First Pan African Conference on Tourism will give Tanzania a golden opportunity to disclose its tourist potentials to more than 350 participants of the conference.

With a theme of “Tourism Management in National Parks and Protected Areas: Challenges and Opportunities”, the conference will be held from October 15 to 18 October 2012 in northern Tanzania’s safari capital of Arusha.

“Tourism industry is the future of Tanzania’s economy and therefore opportunities like this one must be effectively used by tourism stakeholders in the country to showcase what they could offer to the world, so as to increase the number of tourist arrivals in the country, which is now below one million a year,” said Dr. Rifai.

He further told the Tanzanian Tourism Minister that country’s tourism sector should be taken seriously, as the more you invest on it the more the positive impact will appear in the country’s economy.

Rifai said UNWTO will offer maximum support to Tanzania to ensure that it attains its goal of reaching a one million tourist arrival mark in a short period of time and mentioned the upcoming conference as an opening of a new chapter between UNWTO and the government of Tanzania.

On his part, Mr. Kagasheki welcomed the initiative by UNWTO to choose Tanzania as a host country of the conference and pledged his maximum support to ensure that the conference attains its goals.

“The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania will work hard to ensure that the conference bears fruitful results to the tourism sector in the country”, said Mr. Kagasheki.

He further told the UNWTO Secretariat that Tanzania has all the potential as far as tourist attractions is concerned and assured the UN tourism body that his government will work closely with the private sector in the country, to keep the ball rolling for the betterment of the country’s economy.

The Tanzanian Tourism Minister and his delegation made a visit to UNWTO Headquarters to discuss among other issues the preparation status of the forthcoming Pan African Conference.

The First Pan African Conference with a focus on challenges and opportunities on sustainable tourism management in African national parks and protected areas will look at the balance between environmental and cultural protection and tourism development, specifically on policy and management issues, as well as regulatory framework, in order to sustain high quality visitor experience.

Despite high potential for a sustainable tourism development, many of Africa’s national parks and protected areas suffer from constraints and limitations concerning public policies, integrated planning, effective governance with the involvement of the private stakeholders, lack of management and commercial skills, scientific expertise, infrastructure and transport, tourism product development, quality, consumer image and safety.

Various tourism experts and conservationists, both locally and internationally, will get chance to share their experiences in the fields of tourism and conservation and make a resolution on the way forward.

According to UNWTO, nature-based tourism or eco-tourism is a large and growing global industry, partially dependent upon the attributes of the natural environment and biodiversity of the wildlife and scenery, which represent one of Africa’s strategic competitive advantages as a destination.

The conference aims to encourage professional approach to better position “park tourism” as one of the core components of overall national park management in Africa and to conduct an overview of the current challenges in terms of demand and supply chain.

Furthermore new partnerships and business models shall initiate re-engineering of park management structures in order to maximize the economics and social benefits to the local communities.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.