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New UNWTO agenda for Africa gets a nod in Berlin


Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji lai Mohammed (middle) with other African Ministers of Tourism furing the meeting in Berlin

Nigeria Announces Readiness To Host African Tourism Ministers

An African ministerial working meeting conveyed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) during this year’s Berlin International Tourism Fair ITB agreed to move ahead with a new ten-point UNWTO Agenda for Africa. The final document will be adopted at the UNWTO Commission meeting for Africa, taking place in Nigeria in June this year.

Against the backdrop of international tourist arrivals expanding 8 per cent in Africa in 2017, thus outgrowing the world average increase in arrivals, tourism is gaining weight as a development opportunity for the whole continent, with its vast diversity of nature, culture and wildlife its greatest vehicle for development.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed that “tourism has huge potential to generate lasting development opportunities in Africa if we manage it in the right way, which is economic, social and environmental sustainability”.The participants from 17 countries, including 14 ministers, supported a coordinated approach to seizing the continent’s potential for tourism, a sector that last year attracted more than 62 million international visitors. Issues on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa include, among others, connectivity, the image and brand of Africa, poverty alleviation, climate change, education and skills development, and financing. Delegates underscored the importance of educating other economic sectors on the broad impact of tourism for the benefit of societies and its people, and promoting tourism as a priority in national agendas.

The detailed, four-year UNWTO Agenda for Africa will be approved at the upcoming 61st Regional Commission for Africa – UNWTO’s annual gathering of all its member countries of the continent –in the Nigerian capital of Abuja (4-6 June).Among countries represented at the meeting at ITB are Angola, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has formally invited African Tourism Ministers to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/Commission for Africa (CAF) meeting scheduled to hold in Abuja 4-6 June 2018.The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, personally extended the invitation to the Ministers at a meeting they held on the sidelines of the ongoing International Travel Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday.

‘’I have tried to contact, individually, every Minister. I have sent an email to every Minister reminding them of the meeting and assuring
them that we will leave no stone unturned to host a very successful meeting.’The truth is that no matter the level of preparation that is made, if you are not there, it is not a success. So, I really wish to appeal to all of us to please attend the CAF meeting in June,’’ the Minister said, shortly after handing over the invitation letters to his African colleagues.

He said the participants at the meeting are guaranteed to experience the best of Nigeria, especially in the area of the Creative Industry,
where Nigeria’s competitive advantage is widely acknowledged.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Mohammed has urged the global tourism body, UNWTO, to involve African Heads of State in its plan to rebrand the continent and make it more attractive to global tourists.Contributing to the debate on the UNWTO’s rebranding process for Africa in Berlin, he said Ministers other than those of tourism should
also be involved.

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