The maiden edition of the Caravan for African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism has been held in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville.
This is after players, government officials and conservationists established a consensus to collectively promote tourism in a more sustainable way.
The event was attended by high-ranking Congolese government officials including the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Public Service, State Reform, Labor and Social Security, Firmin Ayessa who described it as an opportunity for restructuring development strategies on the continent. He also revealed, the Republic of Congo, a signatory to this charter, has made tourism one of the strategic growth sectors in its National Development Plan 2018-2022,
“So, from Brazzaville and now, I appeal to all the countries of the continent to join the twenty-six States signatories to the African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism and resolutely commit themselves to embark on the development of this sector. Once again, by taking the initiative of organizing the first edition of the “Caravan of the African Charter of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism”, the Government of the Republic of Congo reaffirms its commitment to contribute to the rebirth of Africa, “ Deputy Prime Minister added.
The Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili was also graced the occasion as the special guest impressed on players in Congo’s tourism sector the need to the capitalize on the project to market their country as an attractive tourist destination. He also reiterated the organization’s ten point strategy for Africa with a call for support from members and governments towards growing tourism in Africa.
The ten points include: Advocating the Brand Africa , Promoting Travel Facilitation (Connectivity/Visa), Strengthening Tourism Statistics Expanding Capacity Building including Training Facilities and Promoting Innovation and Technology among others.
On her part, Congolese Minister of Tourism and Environment, Arlette Soudan-Nonault, was also optimistic that the event will help shape the perception of tourism development on the continent. According to her, tourism is not just leading economic activity but also form an integral part of the
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Director, Anthony Kwaku Ohemeng-Boamah was also optimistic about the impact of the caravan on sustainable tourism in Africa.
The Secretary General of UNWTO, Congo’s Minister of Tourism and Environment, the Moroccan & UNWTO delegations and international experts in a plenary session shared their perspectives on sustainable tourism practices especially in terms of education, skills and job creation for the youth.
Outstanding Individuals and tourism enterprises that have contributed to the development and promotion of the principles of sustainable and responsible tourism received awards to climax the event.
The first Caravan for African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism was a result of an initiative in 2016 by the Kingdom of Morocco in partnership with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties (COP-22) in Marrakech, Morocco.