UNWTO Members Convene to Revamp African Tourism Agenda

African Tourism
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SUMMARY – AFRICAN TOURISM AGENDA: UNWTO REPORTS PROMISING RECOVERY WITH INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS NEARING PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS AND FOCUS ON SUSTAINABLE GROWTH. KEY PRIORITIES AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES DISCUSSED AT REGIONAL MEETING IN MAURITIUS.

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During the 66th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, Member States, along with representatives from international organizations and the private sector, came together to prioritize the African Tourism Agenda. They delved into opportunities related to tourism jobs and investments while acknowledging the critical importance of addressing challenges, including the climate crisis.

READ: Ghana Urged to Reduce Tourism Levies to Boost Sector Growth

Positive Signs of Recovery

According to the latest UNWTO data, tourism in Africa is showing signs of recovery after the pandemic:

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At the end of the first quarter of this year, international arrivals in Africa reached 88% of pre-pandemic levels.

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North Africa, in particular, is performing strongly, with arrivals surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 4%.

Globally, international tourism receipts saw a real-term growth of 50% compared to 2021, reaching USD 1 billion in 2022. African destinations like Morocco and Mauritius have notably exceeded their 2019 tourism receipts in the first quarter of 2023.

READ: Zimbabwe Promotes Investment Opportunities at Africa Hospitality Investment Forum 2023

UNWTO’s Vision for African Tourism AGENDA

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili expressed a vision for African tourism that focuses on strong governance, education, and creating better job opportunities. The organization’s objectives include promoting innovation, advocating for Brand Africa, facilitating travel, and fostering growth through investment and public-private partnerships.

At the 66th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa, UNWTO received delegations from 33 countries. They comprise on 22 Ministers of Tourism, two Deputy Ministers, and four Ambassadors. The meeting, which is the most important annual event for the region’s Member States, received strong political support from various high-level officials.

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Core Priorities for the African Tourism Agenda.

During the meeting, UNWTO prioritize the African Tourism Agenda:

UNWTO presented Investment Guidelines for Mauritius, aimed at connecting investors with tourism projects in the country. Similar publications for other African countries are also in development, including Tanzania, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, and Zambia. UNWTO has already organized two Tourism Investment Forums in Africa.

Recognizing tourism’s potential to drive gender equality and empower African youth, UNWTO updated Members on the progress of the UNWTO Women in Tourism Leadership for Africa Committee and emphasized its focus on education and training. Notable achievements include the Travel Hospitality and Tourism Education Summit held in Zambia in May 2023 and plans for an International Academy in Nigeria.

Members were updated on UNWTO’s efforts to empower African tourism professionals to shape the narrative of their continent. This includes initiatives such as the Brand Africa Think Tank Dialogue and plans for a UNWTO Media Training Workshop.

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Sustainable Tourism and Climate Action

UNWTO continues to lead the way in promoting sustainability in tourism and addressing climate action as a part of the African Tourism Agenda.. In Mauritius, the organization provided updates on its work, including its leadership in the One Planet Tourism Network and progress on the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili visited Le Morne and Old Grand Port in Mauritius, both recognized by UNWTO as Best Tourism Villages, highlighting the importance of tourism in rural development.

READ: Morocco’s National Tourism Office (ONMT) Tourism Roadmap Aims for Top 10 Destination Status

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