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By Wolfgang H.Thome January 07,2016



May 07, 2014

UNWTO African Members States, gathered on the occasion of the 56th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa, highlighted the need to have better coordination between tourism and air transport policies to fully explore the tourism sector’s capacity to deliver on growth and development in the continent. The meeting also discussed the on-going poaching crisis in Africa and its negative impact on tourism (April 28-30, 2014, Luanda, Angola).

Over the last decade, international tourist arrivals to Africa have repeatedly outgrown results in other regions. By 2030, Africa’s international tourist numbers could grow from its current 56 million to 134 million and a rising number of African countries have embraced tourism as a priority for their development.

Against this backdrop, participants at the UNWTO Commission for Africa Meeting and the corresponding Seminar on ‘Tourism and Air Connectivity in Africa’ discussed how to overcome existing barriers to advance Africa’s tourism, including travel facilitation, air connectivity and infrastructure development.

“Tourism accounts for 7% of all exports in Africa and 58% of its service exports and is one of the most important sectors for the economies of the continent”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “Yet to fully realize the potential tourism has in promoting growth and development in Africa, it is imperative to work towards a better alignment of tourism and air transport policies in the region”, he added.

The lack of consideration of tourism benefits and coordination between the tourism and aviation sectors, producing suboptimal air transport and tourism policies, infrastructure limitation, unsuitable taxation and restrictive visa policies, were identified as the main factors hampering the development of both tourism and air transport in Africa.

The Seminar laid the groundwork for the first UNWTO & International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Tourism and Transport Ministerial Conference for Africa (October 14-15, 2014, Mahé, Seychelles).

Source: UNWTO

January 25, 2014 

(Forimmediaterelease.net) Mr. Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization) said, as he addressed the 5th edition of INVEST TOUR, the tourism investment and business forum for Africa that was again held in Madrid as part of FITUR 2014, that for the first time, the UNWTO and ICAO are joining together to organize a meeting for African ministers of tourism and also for ministers of transport to sit together and to look at air transport with tourism in mind.

The Secretary General of the UNWTO said that this meeting of tourism and transport ministers will and should help align civil aviation and tourism. Mr. Rifai went on to say that tours must be facilitated if it is to be developed and consolidated.

It is now a few months already since Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, had been working with the UNWTO and with ICAO to bring this historic meeting to Seychelles. “This public announcement today was indeed welcome. We are a small country sitting in the middle of an ocean that remains dependent on tourism for our survival. Air transport continues, therefore, to be a vital ingredient for our successful tourism industry," Minister St.Ange said to the press after the announcement that the joint UNWTO ICAO meeting for tourism and transport ministers from Africa will be held in Seychelles.

Elsia Grandcourt, the Director for Africa at the UNWTO, also addressed the INVEST TOUR Conference and again reiterated the two big tourism meetings of 2014. Mrs. Grandcourt said: “I am pleased to inform you that the issue of air transport will be taken to the Regional Seminar to be held in April in Angola on the occasion of the 56th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa, which in turn is one of the preparatory activities for the mint UNWTO and ICAO African Tourism and Transport Ministerial Conference, to be held in Seychelles later this year. An increased coordination between tourism and air transport policies is central to tourism development in general, bur even more in Africa where access is still a major barrier to growth. We trust this plan of activities will help us advance this objective," the Director for Africa at the UNWTO said.

Discussions that followed spoke on the need for aligning civil aviation and tourism for the success of the tourism industry. “Tourism must be facilitated," was the clear message echoed.

Andre Muntane, Head of Network Planning&Distribution for Air Europa, and Miquel Alimbaou, the Regional Marketing Manager for Turkish Airlines, also addressed the air access issue for the INVEST TOUR panel that followed on air connectivity and visa facilitation as key factors for Africa`s tourism development.

Mr. Muntane used an example where a country kept a new airline from taking passengers on its stop only because of a power struggle between government Ministries in that country as the airline suffered with a loss of income, and the economy of the country and its tourism industry suffered. The Air Europa representative spoke about liberalization and deregulation policies to ensure freedom rights and to foster competition instead of protecting national airlines which often results with negative effects on the country`s tourism industry. “Deregulation brings movement and growth," Mr. Muntane said.

On his part, Miquel Alimbaou of Turkish Airlines said that competition for airlines stimulates the market and grows traffic. “Competition is good and keeps the airlines up to date," Mr. Alimbaou said.

PHOTO: Mr. Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the UNWTO, addressing Invest Tour 2014 in Madrid with Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, the Director for Africa at the UNWTO looking on.

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com


For organising the best UNWTO world congress ever with attendance from over 120 countries despite sanctions against Zimbabwe the Ministers of Tourism from Zambia Hon. Sylvia Masebo and Walther Mzembi of Zimbabwe will be honoured with The prestigious African Legend Award for 2013. Mrs Anita Baptist of Nitaconsult Ghana a world class Travel consultant will receive the Balafon Award of excellence along with Movie maker Amaka igwe of Nigeria. She is credited with introducing destination promotion into nollywood movies through the training of movie makers on the Tourism impact of movies. Nollywood have been credited for the increase in arrivals to Nigeria as Africans now perceive Nigerians in a differrent light because of the popularity of the movies.
In 2008 the organizers of Akwaaba Travel market decided to introduce Africa travel Awards to honor Africans who have thrived and pioneered different Areas of Travel and Tourism. During the 4th AKWAABA TRAVEL MARKET the only international expo in West Africa, the best of travels and tourism were recognized at the Travel Awards dinner on the 25th of October 2008. ATQ magazine had organized Travellers Award for Airlines and Hotels in Nigeria since 1996 and in 2007 presented its first set of West Africa Travel Awards now christened BALAFON AWARDS .

Africa Travel award has been on every year at Akwaaba since 2008 but it has always been selective.eg the African Legend awards were given to first female pilots, past heads of states and pioneers in Africa. past recipients of the Award includes former President of Gambia Sir Dawda Jawara, Dr Danny Jordaan, the CEO of South Africa world Cup LOC, Capt Irene Mutungi, the first lady Airline Captain in Africa, Capt Desta Zeru the first African to captain a B787 and a host of other pioneers in Africa. The event had seen the former President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo, former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Sir Emeka Anyaoku and Chief Alex Ekwueme former Vice President of Nigeria as Guests. The Ministers Of Tourism from different African Countries, State Governors in Nigeria Executive secretary of ATA Eddie Bergman have all graced the Awards.


eGlobal - Sept.9, 2013

The 2013 UNWTO Awards ceremony, the flagship awards of the global tourism sector, will be jointly hosted, for the first time, by UNWTO and the Madrid International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR).
The UNWTO Awards recognize and showcase innovative and sustainable tourism initiatives and influential individuals of the tourism sector.

“This is the first time ever for FITUR, a UNWTO Affiliate Member and a leading trade fair, to co-host the Awards. This agreement showcases FITUR´s support to tourism innovation and sustainability as well as its commitment to the long standing partnership with UNWTO,” said UNWTO Secretary-General in signing the co-hosting agreement with Luis Eduardo Cortes, Chief Executive Officer of the Trade Fair Institution of Madrid (IFEMA), of which FITUR is a key fair. “We are particularly happy as this means the Awards Ceremony will take place in Madrid, the host city of UNWTO,” he added.

The Chief Executive Officer of IFEMA, Luis Eduardo Cortes, stressed the importance to create “spaces for collaboration in the current environment, as the one announced today, and to make an effective contribution to the new challenges facing the global tourism sector. FITUR is honored to expand the framework of cooperation with the main reference in world tourism, sharing UNWTO’s goals which are key to the progress of the sector. Hence our commitment to leverage the Awards through this fair, which every year brings together more than 200,000 tourism professionals.”

Since its inception in 2003, UNWTO has acknowledged the contribution of eight distinguished scholars as well as more than forty institutions – public, private or NGOs – for their innovative tourism initiatives. The contribution of the awardees is in line with UNWTO´s policies, priorities and program of work, including the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the principles and standards set in the United Nations´ Millennium Development Goals.

The call for nominations for the 2013 UNWTO Awards is open until October 1, 2013. The UNWTO Awards are awarded in categories for individuals and for specific tourism activities.

Two categories of awards for individuals:

a. The UNWTO Ulysses Prize for Excellence in the Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge

b. The UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement

Four categories of Awards for specific tourism initiatives:

a. UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance

b. UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Enterprises

c. UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations

d. UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Research and Technology

The 2013 Awards ceremony will take place on January 22, 2014 during the Madrid International Fair FITUR, followed by the UNWTO Knowledge Network Symposium (January 23) that will highlight best theories and practices showcased by the awardees of the different categories.



The Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe last week expressed satisfaction about the brisk business recorded during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly as hotels in Victoria Falls recording above 90 percent occupancy. Zimbabwe and Zambia won the bid to co-host the biennial global tourism event in Victoria Falls and Livingstone ahead of rich nations like Jordan and Russia that had also submitted their bids.

The 20th session of the general assembly saw the highest number of participants in the history of the UNWTO with 121 of the 154 member states attending together with 145 other countries, 750 delegates, 900 participants from the media and private sector and 49 ministers.

HAZ president Mr Tich Hwingwiri commended the Government for hosting such a big event, which saw the resort town and the country at large benefiting.

Mr Hwingwiri said it was a good period for everyone mainly in the hospitality industry.

"The event went on very well and all the hotels as well as lodges around Victoria Falls benefited during the course of the congress," he said.

"Hotels were hovering above 90 percent occupancy and all the lodges also recorded brisk business. Some residents also benefited as they turned their homes into boarding houses," he added.

He said the end of the general assembly did not mean business would fall as it had reached its peak season.

"Here in Victoria Falls we are already in our traditionally peak season, the season normally starts from June to December. So our normal business is actually on the climax, that is our position at the moment," he added.

Meanwhile, co-hosting of the general assembly by Zimbabwe and Zambia has been described as a success not only for the two countries, but for the continent and the world at large.

New Ziana


Zimbabwe and Zambia to co-host World Tourism Organization General Assembly

May 03, 2013

It has been confirmed by the UNWTO that Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the 20th session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) from August 24-29 this year in their tourist resort towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone. The two countries won the bid to host the General Assembly at a World Travel Organization (WTO) meeting held in South Korea. This will only be the second time that Africa will have hosted the WTO General Assembly, after Senegal in 2005. It will, however, be the first time of hosting for the SADC and COMESA regions, to which both neighboring countries belong.

Mr. Mwencha, the AU Commission's Deputy Chairperson, and Mr. Erastus Mwencha at the African Union headquarters, said as he met Zambia's Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts, Mr. David Phiri, on April 29 that the UNWTO summit is being held in the name of Africa and that this is a great tribute to the African continent.

“When South Africa hosted the football World Cup in 2010, it was in the name of Africa, and everyone was proud of that. We will also be proud when Zimbabwe and Zambia successfully host the World Tourism Summit later this year,” said Mr. Mwencha. He encouraged the two countries to find commonality with the African Union in branding the summit as a truly African event.

Both Zimbabwe and Zambia see tourism as a key sector that will help to create jobs and grow their economies. As such, the summit is an important event for the two countries as well as for the African continent.

It was this message that got Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, to speak out in support of the rallying call for Africa to use this UNWTO Summit to mark the continent’s commitment to tourism.

“I have personally been discussing with my colleagues from South Africa for example, as I have done with other ministers for us to work with Mr. Taleb Rifai of the UNWTO and with Geoffrey Lipman of the ICTP [International Coalition of Tourism Partners] to increase focus on tourism of Africa. The time has arrived for Africa to work at its highest level under the African Union to help reposition the tourism industry of Africa. This concept is one deemed acceptable to both the UNWTO and the ICTP, and it may be the ideal avenue to follow if Africa wants to work with Africa to increase the percentage of tourists to Africa,” the Seychelles Minister said to questions about the coming UNWTO Summit.

The Seychelles Minister said in Korea when he proposed that the UNWTO General Assembly moves to Africa, that Africa must know Africa and must work with Africa if Africa is to succeed as a continent. Seychelles is one country that has presented its candidacy for the coming election for the Executive Committee of the UNWTO.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .




April 07, 2013


In the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today agreed to launch a new public awareness campaign, calling on tourists to help reduce demand for illicit goods and services linked to transnational organized crime.

Preparations for the campaign were set in motion during the Spring Meeting of the Chief Executive Board of the United Nations in Madrid. A Cooperation Agreement was signed between UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, and UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov in the presence of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The joint campaign, to be launched later this year, aims to raise awareness among international tourists about the types of illicit goods and services to which they are often exposed during their travels and which directly or indirectly fund organized crime groups. Travelers can play a key role in reducing demand for these products through ethical consumer choices. The campaign will encourage tourists to make informed decisions and help reduce demand for trafficking in persons, cultural artifacts, wildlife, fauna and flora such as ivory products, as well as counterfeit goods, and illicit drugs.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended this innovative joint initiative between the two partner UN agencies: “The illegal trade in goods and services often funds unscrupulous people involved in human trafficking, the illicit ivory trade, and other areas that cause immense suffering and destruction. Well-informed tourists can make a real difference in turning the tide against these criminal acts.”

Organized criminal networks generate money wherever there is demand, and travelers are often exposed to objects which are illicitly sold. With more than 1 billion tourists now crossing international borders each year, there is a growing opportunity to call on tourists to act and reduce demand for these illicit products which in many cases are providing a funding source for organized crime. The campaign drives the message that while some products may seem harmless, the demand created and their sale can, in fact, have devastating effects on the lives of innocent people, on wildlife, or on cultural property. The billions of dollars generated through such trade also fund criminal groups who use this money to branch out into other illicit and unethical lines of business.

“Although the infrastructure of tourism – from accommodation establishments to transportation networks – can be misused by traffickers to victimize the vulnerable, tourism has the potential and is firmly committed to reclaim this same infrastructure and use it in the fight against trafficking,” said UNWTO’s Secretary General Taleb Rifai. “Through coordinated efforts, we can ensure that awareness travels – that tourism authorities, travel companies, and tourists - join us on this fight,” he added.

According to the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov: “This new awareness-raising campaign will help build awareness about organized crime and the devastating effect it has on people and communities worldwide. Tourists are often exposed to the traffickers of human beings and unethical products. By making informed choices, tourists can help sever the financial arteries that fuel these forms of illicit trade.”

The campaign will seek to engage the tourism industry including hotel chains, travel agencies, and airlines to lend support in raising awareness among tourists and help contribute to limiting these illicit markets.

The initiative supplements UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The Code calls upon tourists to behave in a responsible and respectful manner towards the visited destination, urging them not to commit any criminal acts and to refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species, products, and substances that are dangerous or prohibited by national regulations.

Source: unwto.org

The World Tourism Outlook and WTO Tourism Code of Ethics

With the intention of protecting the earth's natural environment and cultural heritage from the non-stop growth of international tourism, world leaders approved a Global Code of Ethics for Tourism during a summit meeting in Santiago. The code, developed by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), sets out a 10-point blueprint for safeguarding the resources upon which tourism depends and for ensuring that more of the skyrocketing profits from tourism benefit residents of tourism destinations.

"With international tourism forecast to nearly triple in volume in the first 20 years of the next century, we felt that the Code of Ethics was needed to ensure the sustainability of our industry," said WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli.

Photo: Watch for our story featuring Globe and environmental concerns for Canada's remote areas (above) including the Arctic tundra.
The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism includes nine articles outlining the 'rules of the game` for destinations, governments, tour operators, developers, travel agents, workers and travellers themselves. The tenth article involves the redress of grievances through the creation of a World Committee on Tourism Ethics. For example, travellers are required to learn about the customs, health hazards and security risks of countries they are preparing to visit before departure, while destinations and tourism professionals are held responsible for repatriating tourists in the case of the bankruptcy of a travel service provider.

Investors and public authorities are required to carry out environmental impact studies before beginning tourism development projects and to involve local residents. Other articles involve the rights of workers in the tourism industry and the freedom of movement of people across national boundaries. The code was developed after extensive consultation with governments, trade associations, labour unions, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations. It marks the first time that a document of this type will have a mechanism for enforcement, which will be based on conciliation through the World

Committee on Tourism Ethics.
The five-day WTO General Assembly, held in Santiago from September 27 to October 1, attracted some 800 delegates from 110 nations around the world-including 60 ministers or secretaries of state for tourism. Other items on the agenda included a day-long session on Tourism & Cyberspace and the release of a new study published by the WTO Business Council Marketing Tourism Destinations in the Information Age.

"Internet is the perfect medium for public-private cooperation in tourism and it is revolutionizing all aspects of the tourism sector," said Business Council CEO Jose Luis Zoreda. Delegates also endorsed a new system for accurately measuring the economic impact of tourism activity called the Tourism Satellite Account and urged member nations to begin implementing the system as a way of raising awareness about the vital role of tourism in their national economies.

"The meetings surpassed our expectations, both in the quantity of high-level participants and the quality of the topics debated-all of them relevant to preparing our tourism sector for the next millennium," said Cesar Gomez, director of Chile's national tourism service SERNATUR, which hosted the General Assembly. Swaziland and Hong Kong (China) were approved as new members of the organization.

Tourism for peace
In a first of its kind decision, Japan and South Korea agreed to jointly host WTO's next General Assembly in the cities of Osaka and Seoul in 2001-just one year before the two countries are to jointly host the World Cup football championships. "More than anything else we will try to translate the theme of 'peace through tourism' into practice through the joint hosting of the General Assembly," said South Korea's Vice Minister for Tourism and Culture Soon-Kyu Kim, adding that he hoped the international meeting would focus world attention on reunification of the divided Korean peninsula. WTO has received bids from Croatia and Nigeria to host the General Assembly of 2003.

In addition, Germany was chosen to host World Tourism Day festivities on September 27 next year in conjunction with the Universal Expo in Hanover under the theme of Technology and Nature: Two Challenges for Tourism at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Iran will host World Tourism Day celebrations in 2001 with the theme of Tourism: A Tool for Peace and Dialogue among Civilizations in association with UNESCO's declaration of 2001 as the 'Year of Dialogue'.

For further information contact:
Deborah Luhrman
Tel. (34) 91-567-8100
Fax (34) 91-567-8218
Email: dluhrman@world-tourism.org