The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has joined tourism stakeholders from Africa in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for the 8th edition of the International Tourism Fair of Abidjan (SITA) and the inauguration of the first African Tourism Investment Forum (FITA).
The UNWTO delegation was represented by the Affiliate Members and Africa Departments, respectively led by Director Ambassador. Ion Vilcu and Deputy Director Jaime Mayaki who were accompanied by Ms. Sarah Gafarou, Regional project specialist of the Africa team and Ms. Roxanna Ashtari of the Affiliate Members team.
The visit of Ambassador Vilcu was highly anticipated on the African continent, following his recent appointment within UNWTO. His presence showed the key importance that the organisation attaches to the promotion and support of the private sector in the continent which is also in line with the UNWTO Agenda for Africa which advocates for public private partnerships and investments in the tourism sector. Côte d”Ivoire Tourism (CIT) became late last year an affiliate member of UNWTO and it was very important to come and join dignitaries of the African tourism ecosystem in Abidjan.
The Director of the Affiliates Members mentioned in his introductory remark during the opening of FITA that he was very happy to participate in this 1st edition of the Tourism Investment Forum of Abidjan, “a Forum that we consider an appropriate framework to carry out efforts aiming to promote UNWTO´ s values, priorities, projects, cooperation mechanism and especially to encourage UNWTO membership as affiliated private entities, in a region with few Affiliate Members.”
Delivering a presentation to the audience on UNWTO’s vision and programme of work, including the Agenda for Africa, Jaime Mayaki highlighted how important the ownership of the members and the partnership with key regional organisations is essential for the success of this vision.
Ms. Sarah Gafarou then took the floor and presented the 10th edition of INVESTOUR 2019 which was held in January 2019 in the framework of FITUR and briefed on the tourism tech adventures initiative organized in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) that bought 5 disruptive start-ups to Madrid.
She also announced some great news in regards to the willingness of the government of Côte d’Ivoire to host the first INVESTOUR Forum in 2020 in Africa, which will have a major focus on B2Bs sessions.
Key meetings were also held on the side-lines with the National Federation of Tourism Industry on Côte d’Ivoire (FENITOURCI), the head of the Hotel and Tourism association of Niger, the Investment Attraction Director of the Centre de Promotion des Investissements en Côte d’Ivoire (CEPICI) which sits at the President’s office.
Still under the priority related to capacity building of the Agenda for Africa, UNWTO will support in the next few weeks the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in the assessment of their tourism’s human resources needs in the country for the formulation of a capacity building strategy.