High-level tourism representatives from African countries, including 18 tourism ministers, are convening in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to discuss the challenges of the sector and the priorities for the programme of work of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the African continent. The event was held in parallel with the Sustainable Tourism Conference of the 10 YFP, focused on ‘Accelerating the Shift towards Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns’.
Tourism and ethics, tourism and security, and the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ to be celebrated in 2017 are some of the topics in the agenda of the meeting. The events taking place in Côte d’Ivoire show clear support to the country and recognition by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire of tourism’s role in development.
“Côte d’Ivoire is one of the most evident examples of the great potential of African tourism; it holds impressive natural assets and unique cultural diversity and traditions. Continuing to foster tourism in this part of the world can really make a difference, not only for society as a whole, but also for the perception of the African continent in the world,” said UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai at the opening event.
The importance of tourism to Cote d’Ivoire has been reflected in the acceptance by Ouattara of the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism, geared to raise awareness and support of tourism at the highest political level. Parallel to the Regional Commission, UNWTO organised the Sustainable Tourism Conference of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.
The event focused on accelerating the shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns, and discussed the importance of sustainability in the agenda of tourism in Africa, as well as in enhancing tourism investment and financing and collaboration among stakeholders to improve the tourism sector’s performance.
Through a combination of plenary sessions, interactive panels and roundtable discussions, examples of good practices from related projects and activities were presented and shared.