Several weeks after the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, MINTOURL, trained tourist operators in the Southwest Region on improving the quality of services rendered to clientele, it recently organised training for Mayors of the Region.

Officials of MINTOURL, led by the Minister, Bello Bouba Maigari, were in Buea to train Mayors of the Region on the setting up of tourism boards at council and inter-council levels.

The Mayors of the Southwest were being trained after those of the Centre, West, Littoral, South, Adamawa and Northern regions.

These trainings, according to Minister Bello Bouba, are aimed at developing sustainable tourism at local level in view of improving on the living standard of local populations. “Tourism is an income generating activity, so, it must be given serious considerations. It has direct and indirect job opportunities. It’s a development alternative for all the Regions in the country,” Bello Bouba added.

Mayors and other local authorities are expected to play leading roles in creating council and inter-council tourism boards, write projects and galvanise the population to contribute to the development of tourism in their areas.

 “The government is now on a campaign to develop new strategies that will boost the sector across the country. The ongoing seminars are for us to share, learn and dispatch knowledge on tourism,” he noted.

While addressing participants at the three-day seminar, Bello Bouba said tourism is a source of wealth and that it is one of the main income-generating sectors. “The positive impact of tourism on the economy helps to boost growth, revive the economy and alleviate poverty by creating opportunities for the less privileged groups notably the women, the youths and local populations to make money for themselves,” the Minister said.

By Walter Wilson Nana


Interview: H.E. Baba Hamadou, Minister of Tourism, Cameroon

Mister Minister, what are your immediate and long range goals for tourism in Cameroon?

In the area of tourism Cameroon is currently pursuing a double objective: seeing to it that this sector participates concretely and immediately in the implementation of the Head of State's policy programme for his current seven &endash; year term of office, so as to meet the common goal of social well being. This is why my Ministry is working to increase significantly the number of international tourists visiting Cameroon. The figure is today estimated at about half a million.

The immediate objective which agrees with the medium- range target of endowing the sector with a sound tourism policy that will be made possible in the coming months through a Tourism Development Master Plan, will lead to a more rational and optimal development and exploitation of our potentials.

The upcoming creation of a National Tourism Board, the developments now taking place in some tourist sites, notably within the framework of the STEP (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty) Programme, the imminent launching of major construction works for the iinvestment of giant tourist complexes in Malimba-Yoyo in the Littoral Region and in Lobé near Kribi in the South Region are ample proof of a brighter future for Cameroon's tourism industry. As far as cooperation is concerned, we are going to continue with the signing of cooperation agreements in the area of tourism, notably with China. .

What sets Cameroon apart from other destinations in Western and Central Africa?

What is your competitive edge?

The main characteristic of Cameroon's tourist products is their diversity. In fact, thanks to its central position on the African continent, Cameroon's tourism is characterized by a large variety of products. Cameroon's tourism potential is endowed with a large range of resources stemming from its landscape, and climate which give rise to flora and fauna resources that feature among the richest in Africa. Moreover, this country harbours almost the totality of what nature has unevenly given to other African countries. Here live more than 250 ethnic groups with exceptionally rich and varied cultures and folklores.

It is worth noting here that in a region like ours which is plagued with all sorts of crises - social peace that reigns in our country is very conducive for profitable tourist investments.

How highly do you rate your membership in the Africa Travel Association and its events in Africa and the USA?

There exist potential market segments in the USA for the development of our tourism. There are for example, lovers of nature, of less &endash; disturbed environment, and of genuine cultures and traditions. But, the most visible segment is of human and historic interest. It is worth recalling that according to historians, about 30% of black slave population that was taken from the West Coast of Africa originated from the region that stretches from Cameroon to the Niger Delta. Probability is therefore high that an important part of African Americans hailed from Cameroonian families, as it is the case with Nate Parker, who, according to recent information, will visit Cameroon where his roots are said to be found in the Tikar region.

This accounts for: Cameroon's adhesion to ATA in 1986; the organization of two annual congresses (1987 and 2004) and of one symposium on ecotourism in 2001 in Cameroon; the creation of an ATA Chapter; the creation of a National Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism Project "The Slave Route" and more recently the representation of Cameroon Head of State H.E. Paul BIYA at the 4 th Forum of African Heads of State on Tourism organized By ATA last September in New York alongside the General assembly meeting of the United Nations.

As far as ATA events in Africa and the USA are concerned, they have been witnessing for the past years both a quantitative and qualitative evolution. The project for the elaboration of a five-year plan of ATA's activities could be a good thing likely to help this organization be more at the service of its members and of the development of tourism in Africa.

What are your priorities for the improvement to the tourism infrastructures?

To improve tourism infrastructures in Cameroon, a number of activities have been undertaken, notably: 1- On going leasing procedure of State- owned hotels.

To that effect, a public international call for the manifestation of interest was launched and the deadline for submission of tender files is 24 May 2010;

2- Many tourist sites have been studied and are soon going to be developed within the framework of ecotourism development in Cameroon. It is the case with the EBOGO tourist site in the Centre Region and Lake AWING in the North- West Region which are STEP projects (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty)

3- Improving upon the quality of service in lodging establishments through the on going campaigns on classification and re-classification.

4- Training and sensitization campaigns geared towards private operators through the organization of seminars on quality.

What results do you expect from the Africa Tourism Commission meeting this May?

The UNWTO Africa Commission is holding its 50th meeting from 17 to 19 May 2010 in Algiers in Algeria. This meeting is coming after the 18th session of the General assembly meeting of the World Tourism Organization held last October in Astana in Kazakhstan and whose resolutions marked more than ever before, the determination and the capacity of its members to make tourism an essential tool for job creation and economic recovery. In my capacity as Chairman of the UNWTO Commission for Africa, and considering the positive results achieved by this region as far as international tourist arrivals since the beginning of the economic and financial crisis of 2008 are concerned, our wish is to see our countries implement the resolutions mentioned above, namely the ones relating to "the road map for recovery "and the Declaration of tourist movements". This will help to maximize the fallouts of tourist activities in our countries. The World Football Cup to be organized in South Africa and the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of most African countries will obviously contribute to it.

Cameroon Ministry of Tourism
Tel:, +237 222-4411
Fax:, +237 222-1295.
B.P. 266 Yaoundé 237 Cameroon
Website: www.mintour.gov.cm
E-mail: ctourisme@yahoo.fr


Yaoundé, 25 Janvier 2013

Dès sa prise de fonction il y a douze jours, le nouveau Dg de Camair-Co, le Néerlandais Matthijs Boertien Johannes, souffle une source autorisée, a reçu une feuille de route conçue par un comité interministériel, sorte de boussole devant permettre à l'ancien Directeur d'exploitation de la compagnie aérienne nationale camerounaise, de conduire Camair-Co vers de meilleurs rivages. Mais il est difficile de savoir si cette feuille de route, dont le Ministre des Transports, Robert Nkili, a esquissé les grandes lignes en installant le nouveau Dg, est aussi ambitieuse que ce que Matthijs Boertien Johannes lui-même appelle «la vision de Camair-Co » sur la période 2013-2018, qui sera en principe présentée, a-t-i révélé au reporter de Mutations le 23 janvier dernier dans un hôtel de la capitale, vendredi le 1er février 2013 au cours d'une conférence de presse organisée à Douala. 
Pendant cette rencontre avec la presse, le Dg de Camair-Co devrait également faire l'état des lieux de la compagnie, caractérisé par, soutient-il, «un important déficit que nous sommes encore en train d'évaluer, puisque les comptes de 2012 ne sont pas bouclés». Tout au plus, on apprendra que dans l'urgence, afin de rassurer les partenaires de la compagnie, l'Etat du Cameroun a du débloquer 2,5 milliards de Fcfa dès la prise de fonction de Matthijs Boertin Johannes, afin d'apurer une partie de la dette due aux fournisseurs de l'entreprise, sur une enveloppe globale de 10 milliards de Fcfa. 
Mais le plus grand défi de ce qu'il convient d'appeler le plan stratégique, « Camair-Co sur la période 2013-2018, demeure l'exploitation de la compagnie dans un ciel de plus en plus concurrentiel. De ce point de vue, Matthijs Boertien Johannes entend œuvrer pour devenir membre de l’Iata, l'organisation faîtière des compagnies aériennes dans le monde, préalable pour établir des alliances avec d'autres compagnies aériennes, afin dé sortir du carcan du service point à point; qui pousse par exemple beaucoup de clients à préférer les autres compagnies au détriment de Camair-Co. Échéance pour cette adhésion et l’obtention de la certification Iata sur laquelle le Dg de Camair-Co dit travailler en ce moment avec une équipe de l'Association des compagnies aérienne africaines: juillet 2013. 

Mais avant cela, révèle le Dg, Christian Perchat, un ancien d'Air France, d'Air Mauritius et d'Air Seychelles, qui connait bien Camair-Co et le marché de l'aviation au Cameroun, est arrivé au Cameroun hier le 24 janvier 2013. Il prendra bientôt ses fonctions de Directeur commercial et de marketing de Camair-Co. A l'origine de ce recrutement explique Matthijs Boertien Johannes « l’une de nos grosse faiblesse, c'est que nous n'avons pis de politique de marketing, nous ne sommes pas agressif sur ce plan». M. Perchat, de nationalité française aura dont pour objectif, apprend-on, de sortir Camair-Co de sa torpeur au plan marketing, afin d'en faire, rêve le Dg, la compagnie aérienne leader en Afrique centrale et de l'Ouest. Une ambition conditionnée, confie Matthijs Boertien, par l'exploitation de pas moins de... 26 aéronefs (contre 3 actuellement) d'ici à 2018, dont 20 dédiés au transport des passagers et 6 exclusivement consacrés au fret. 
Pour ce dernier valet des activités le Dg de Camair-Co indique qu'il va s'attacher les services de European Garce Services (Ecs), une entreprise de fret dont le siège est à Paris Charles de Gaulle, qui va «investir lourdement dans les entrepôts» au Cameroun, afin de faire de ce pays «le hub du fret en Afrique sub-saharienne». 

The new Cameroonian airline intends to cover about a dozen destinations in Africa this month; a deployment meant to strengthen the competitiveness of CAMAIR-CO, whose activities were launched in very difficult circumstances. Six months after the activities of the Cameroonian airline (CAMAIR-CO) were launched, the new national company started to mark its anchorage in a particularly difficult and competitive air transport sector, in which close to thirty airlines service Cameroon. While it is true that current performances are still far from the average recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which advocates an aircraft load factor of 66%, marked progress has been registered since the load factor rose from 33% four months ago to a little over 45% today.

A third aircraft
According to the management of this fully State-controlled public company, there is room for optimism because « CAMAIR-CO took–off in a difficult context. The 44?000 passengers and more registered during the first five months represent the aggregate of persons carried. I admit that in the beginning it wasn't easy, we took off with planes sometimes almost half empty. But today, we feel that an increasing number of people are responding favourably to our efforts and I am optimistic », Managing Director Alex Van Elk explained.

The national company wants to strengthen its position, first by expanding its fleet, then by diversifying its operation plan. After starting its activities with two airplanes, CAMAIR-CO was able to beef-up its fleet with a third aircraft, while a Boeing 777 is expected in the next couple of days. The arrival of this high-capacity aircraft will enable the airline to service new international destinations, because in addition to Paris, already operational, other lines are in the programme: Shanghai, Dubaï and Johannesburg, to be more specific. Meanwhile, the Cameroonian airline has announced its decision to launch a regional offensive of which Douala, the country's economic capital, is the hub.

Competitiveness and flexibility
Libreville in Gabon, Lagos in Nigeria have recently joined N'djamena in Chad. « The start of these destinations marks a significant development of our activities. Our airline has made tremendous efforts and we believe that today it has the expertise required to get into the regional market », Alex Van Elk said. For this reason, five new destinations are on the October programme : Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, Cotonou in Benin, Dakar in Senegal, Brazzaville in Congo and Bangui in Central African Republic.

By the end of the year, CAMAIR-CO intends to cover ten countries in Central and West Africa, this region dubbed « the coast » which was one of the major successes of CAMAIR, ex national airline placed in liquidation in 2008. The domestic flights, already operational, also constitute an asset for the national airline, whose expected entry into the Clearing House should strengthen its competitiveness.

Customer Loyalty Programme
The State, which injected 22 billion CFA francs for the launching of CAMAIR-CO in March 2010, dreams « of a reliable and competitive airline ». Cargo activities brought in a billion CFA francs during the first five months of operation, with an encouraging progression margin. Moreover, the airline intends to establish a loyalty programme to compensate its faithful customers. « This is an additional challenge, I hope we will succeed, in any case, we will do our best », the Managing Director declared.
Aside from strengthening its fleet, CAMAIR-CO should quickly integrate the Clearing House, in order to allow its passengers more flexibility. Likewise, it is necessary for CAMAIR-CO to be a member of Team Airlines, i.e. cooperate with other airlines as is the case of Air France-KLM, especially with the Open Sky phenomenon which will be consolidated in Europe with effect from next year .

Achille Mbog Pibasso, Douala