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Tourism leaders across Africa conclude meeting

, Tourism leaders across Africa conclude meeting, eTurboNews | eTN
UNWTO session in Tanzania - image courtesy of UNWTO

Concluding a 3-day meeting in Tanzania, Tourism Ministers and high-level reps from African countries resolved to look for tourism recovery.

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This will be accomplished through redefining the roadmap of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Agenda for Africa 2030.

The 65th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa brought together around 25 Ministers for Tourism and high-ranking representatives from 35 countries as well as leaders from the private sector.

Taking place in Tanzania just days after UNWTO celebrated World Tourism Day, the Commission meeting embraced that day’s theme of “Rethinking Tourism” with a focus on innovation, branding, jobs creation and protection, education and partnerships.

Welcoming delegates at the meeting that was held in the East African tourist capital of Arusha in Northern Tanzania, the UNWTO Secretary General Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili provided the members of the Regional Commission for Africa, with updates and accomplishments in the year after the last Commission meeting.

“Tourism in Africa has a long history of bouncing back. And it has shown its resilience again. Many destinations are reporting strong tourist arrival numbers,” Pololikashvili said.

“But we must look beyond just the numbers and rethink how tourism works so that our sector can deliver on its unique potential to transform lives, drive sustainable growth and provide opportunity everywhere in Africa,” he told the delegates.

Mr. Pololikashvili told the meeting participants that Africa is lacking free and conducive trade among nations, similarly reliable air transport to connect countries for quick access to tourists visiting this continent. 

African countries also lacked conducive and viable investments in tourism to tap the rich tourist attractions available in the continent, he said.

The Regional Commission of Africa meeting was held as tourism’s recovery gets underway across the African continent.

Latest UNWTO data, for the first seven months of this year indicate that international tourist arrivals across Africa were 171 percent against the 2021 levels, driven largely by regional demand.

UNWTO is prioritizing jobs and training alongside greater and more targeted investment in tourism as to help and speed up tourism recovery in Africa.

During the meeting in Tanzania, UNWTO launched a set of Investment Guidelines focused on Tanzania, designed to support foreign investment in this African destination, famous for wildlife safaris and heritage visits.

Discussions at the concluded, Regional Commission meeting had focused on both the immediate and longer-term recovery of tourism across the African continent, including redefining of a roadmap of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030.

Key topics highlighted by the high-level participants included accelerating tourism for inclusive growth, advancing the sustainability of the sector and the role of public-private partnerships in achieving both of these goals.

Alongside this, the heightened relevance of air connectivity, including low-cost air travel within Africa, as well as the pressing need to support small businesses (SMEs) in gaining the digital tools and knowledge they need to compete, was also discussed.  

Concluding the meeting, Members voted to hold the forthcoming session of the UNWTO Commission for Africa in Mauritius.

Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister Louis Obeegadoo was among the high-ranking officials who attended the meeting and later visited Ngorongoro Conservation Area together with other delegates of the meeting.

Executive Chairman of African Tourism Board (ATB) Mr. Cuthbert Ncube participated the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Meeting.

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Apolinari Tairo - eTN Tanzania

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