The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has shared with experts and international development stakeholders in Johannesburg, South Africa, its vision and action plan for the tourism sector in Africa at the recently held Digitalization of Rural Services workshop organized 6-8 November 2019 by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The Deputy Director of the Africa Department at UNWTO, Jaime Mayaki, who represented the specialized agency during the three-day conference, thanked the organizers for the opportunity to share with African Regional Institutions and UN Sister Organizations how tourism is one of the major drivers of sustainable development in the continent and what UNWTO is doing to support this inclusive and economic transformation. As UNWTO theme for 2020 will be solely focused Tourism and Rural Development, it made sense for UNWTO to be present during this key discussion and workshop.
As mentioned by Jaime Mayaki at the beginning of his presentation, “I am here for three main reasons, the first is to let other sectors understand the magnitude of the tourism sector in the African continent and how it can unlock the potential of rural destinations, second is to present how we achieved to develop a common vision translated under the UNWTO Agenda for Africa: tourism for inclusive growth, and third what projects, tools and activities we are promoting to support the implementation of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa.”
He also highlighted the crucial link between innovation and the promotion of rural tourism and how it can help open up and smartly market the access to rural areas. In line with this important aspect, Mr. Mayaki introduced to the public two tourism tech startups selected through the UNWTO /NEPAD Tourism Tech Adventure initiative, namely Mr. Nkosana Masuku from Phenomenon Technologies and Mr. David Gonahasa from RoundBob, which explained to a captivated audience how their innovating business models and concrete efforts on the ground are contributing to the development of rural destinations.
The Deputy Director also held strategic bilateral meetings with AUDA-NEPAD, the African Union Commission and the World Food Program on areas of collaboration for the development and promotion of the tourism sector in 2020.