The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) launched a White Paper on Safety and Security in the tourism sector.
The virtual unveiling of this unique publication presented in three volumes has tools which is expected to help design and carry out safety and security policies – to restore trust, both in Africa and across the world.
Setting the scene was the Regional Director for Africa Elcia Grandcourt, who expressed appreciation to countries who contributed to the White Paper with their country case studies.
‘’A sincere Thank you and appreciation goes to the UNWTO Member States, namely Colombia, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia (10) who generously contributed to this White Paper by sharing some of the best existing practices put in place to ensure the safety and security of local and international tourists in their respective destinations’’ Ms. Grandcourt said.
In his welcome address, the Secretary-General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili echoed the importance of partnership and coordination to restore travel confidence and also address the current and other pressing needs of the tourism sector.
He said “Restoring trust and confidence are critical to restarting tourism. The “White Paper on Safety and Security in Tourism” shows our commitment to working together to keep tourists safe.” Mr. Pololikashvili added.
‘’Safety and Security are one of the main priorities of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa and as such we have responded to the needs of our Member States, especially in this current context
The “White Paper on Safety and Security in Tourism” shows our commitment to working together to keep tourists safe. It also makes clear that we are serious regarding our duty of care to keep tourism workers safe.
The White Paper has two main objectives: First: to rebuild trust in the short term, to get the world moving again, safely and responsibly. This is very important for destinations where tourism is a lifeline and an economic pillar. Many of them are in Africa and Small Island Developing States.
The UN Tourism Chief expressed delight at the partnership with the African Union Development Agency and the West African Economic and Monetary Union for this important project.
The CEO of AUDA NEPAD Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki said the pandemic has indeed exposed the region to reunites the capacity to mobilise domestic resources and that is why tourism offers that avenue to close the gaps in development.
He believes a well-managed tourism sector in a horizontal manner will help mobilize sufficient resources. He said the pandemic has offered an opportunity for this.
‘’The paper goes beyond tourism and frame tools that can help to manage security and health issues beyond tourism. The collaboration is a demonstration of efficient partnership to solve problems and produce useful tools. Dr. Mayaki said.
It is embedded with pragmatic tools, extremely useful not only for policymakers in the public sector but also for the private sector. Rounding up his message, he paid glowing tributes to the experts who helped put the document together.
In a message read on his behalf, President of UEMOA Commission Mr. Abdoulaye Diop said with the launch of the white paper, we in turn supporting the need to guarantee the safety of tourists and tourism professionals.
‘’It will be useful to accompany this initiative with constant monitoring to help further improve the tourism sector with the growing risk affecting the tourism industry. He added that the right platformS and dialogues ARE needed to bring stakeholders together to calm the fears of tourists.
This initiative will allow us to strengthen our cooperation to ensure a better future for TOURISM IN the region and Africa’’ he concluded.
The publication in 2022 will be translated into workshops, online courses and capacity building programmes that will support the public and the private sector to become more resilient in order to accelerate the restart of the tourism sector.