Monday, December 5

Hon Bah, others back from UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa

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By Yunus S Saliu

The Gambia delegation led-by Honourable Hamat NK Bah, Minister of Tourism and Culture to the 65th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania recently back to the country, a meeting the delegation described successful.

Accompanied the Minister Hamat NK Bah to the 65th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa were the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Madam Kordu Lingure Jabang-Senghore; the Director Generals of the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) and Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) Messrs Daouda Nyang, Aboubacarr Camara respectively and the Director of Marketing GTBoard, Mr Adama Njie.

The theme for the forum which kicked off on 5th through 7th October 2022 was Rebuilding Africa’s Tourism Resilience for Inclusive Socio-Economic Development.

The 65th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa brought together around 25 Ministers of Tourism and high-level representatives from 35 countries as well as leaders from the private sector and the meeting allowed them to rethink the sector and its central role in driving growth and opportunity across the continent.

The meeting which took place in Tanzania just days after UNWTO celebrated World Tourism Day, the Commission meeting embraced that day’s theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’, with a focus on innovation, branding, jobs and education and partnerships.

According to the news release at the concluded section, addressing and welcoming the delegates, Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General provided Members with an update of the Organization’s activities and accomplishments in the 12 months since the previous Commission meeting. He said: “Tourism in Africa has a long history of bouncing back. And it has shown its resilience again. Many destinations are reporting strong arrival numbers. But we must look beyond just the numbers and rethink how tourism works so that our sector can deliver on its unique potential to transform lives, drive sustainable growth and provide opportunity everywhere in Africa.”

Tourism recovery underway in Africa the Regional Commission of Africa meeting was held as tourism’s recovery gets underway across the continent. According to the latest UNWTO data, for the first seven months of the year, international arrivals across Africa were 171% up on 2021 levels, driven largely by regional demand. To help Members capitalize on the sector’s return, and to build greater sustainability and resilience, UNWTO is prioritizing jobs and training alongside greater and more-targeted investment in tourism. On the eve of this week’s meeting, UNWTO launched a set of Investment Guidelines focused on Tanzania, designed to support foreign investment in the country.

Meanwhile, Her Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania warmly welcomed all delegates and UNWTO officials to the meeting, she called on them to “embrace sustainability” and highlighting the work Tanzania has been undertaking to protect the natural habitats and wildlife that help make it a popular destination while also increasing inclusivity in the sector.

However, despite the visible improvement, major downside risks threaten the African recovery including deteriorating economic conditions, aggravated by the military offensive of the Russian Federation on Ukraine. High energy prices and rising inflation are additional
disruptions to the slow and uneven pace of recovery to the tourism economies on the continent, putting extra pressure particularly on long haul travel from other regions to Africa.