The 65th World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting has ended successfully in Arusha, Tanzania.
The meeting which was the first fully in-person CAF meeting since the pandemic assembled over 25 Ministers of Tourism and high-level representatives from 35 countries as well as leaders from the private sector.
The Regional Commission for Africa is the major institutional platform where ministries in charge of tourism discuss the latest trends of the sector at the continental and global level and the implementation of their program of work.
Opening the august gathering, the President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan, represented by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa welcomed the delegates to Tanzania and promised them an unforgettable experience while extolling the virtues of the country’s tourism.
“The available unique tourist attractions and heritage our country is endowed with, have made the tourism sector become one of the pillars of Tanzania’s economy,” she stated.
This, the President said is underpinned by the significant contribution of the sector in the growth and prosperity of Tanzania’s economy.
““For instance, before the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019 the sector generated $2.6 billion, created more than 1.5 million direct jobs and proportionally contributed 17.2% to the country’s GDP. Moreover, the sector was the main foreign exchange earner accounting for 25% of forex.”
The President also praised the UNWTO for its support for the east African country towards recovery.
She emphasised: “We cannot ignore the tremendous support rendered by UNWTO in the struggle to leverage the tourism sector after being hit by COVID-19. Indeed, all initiatives taken by Tanzania which are now showing a green light for the sector recovery were in accordance with the measures suggested by UNWTO to combat the pandemic.”
The Secretary General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili in his opening remarks expressed appreciation to President Suluhu for her commitment to developing and prioritizing tourism as a key economic driver.
‘’But the country’s status as a destination is well known – and, as I now see for myself, well deserved! Like so many people all around the world, I learned a lot about the country through the President’s own marketing project, “Tanzania – The Royal Tour.”
In fact, an incredible 450,000 international tourists have visited since the launch of the project.
To see for me the nature, the culture and, of course, to experience the warm hospitality of the land of “Uhuru na Umoja”, Freedom and Unity! I also thank all the Ministers who have been able to join us today. You show that African tourism is united, determined and ready for the future. ‘’
The Secretary-General presented a commemorative plate to President Samia Suluhu for her commitments to the development of tourism in Tanzania and the region.
The Chair of CAF and President of UNWTO’s Executive Council, the Minister of Tourism and leisure of Cote d’Ivoire Siandou Fofana said he is confident the commission will chart a pathway to help recover the tourism sector to even above the pre-pandemic level. He said the decline in the pandemic has enabled the relaunch of projects and activities to accelerate the recovery.
Key discussions included, Tourism Investment and Regional Integration Frameworks, Pathways to Tourism Recovery and the Role of Regional Integration, Access to Conservation Finance and Green Investment Vehicles to Rebuild Tourism’s Resilience in Africa, Unleashing Digital Technologies to Accelerate Innovation in Tourism SMEs and its Value Chain Post Covid-19, etc.
CAF is held every year as part of UNWTO’s statutory events.