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UNWTO and Vanilla Islands land in Seychelles for AU (African Union) Ministers of Tourism meeting

UNWTO and Vanilla Islands land in Seychelles for AU (African Union) Ministers of Tourism meeting (Forimmediaterelease.net) Elsia Grandcourt, the Director for Africa at the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Madrid Office, and Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, have both arrived in Seychelles for the historic two-day African Union (AU) Ministers of Tourism meeting starting today. They will join the Ministers of Tourism who are already in the Seychelles and DG and PS from many African countries who have all flown to the islands for this historic meeting.

The AU has communicated the meeting as the “Meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on the Tourism Sector Development Strategy for Africa: AU Agenda 2063.”

The Ministerial Group meeting will be organized in two sessions: on March 13, 2014 - Expert meeting to prepare the Ministerial Session Working Papers, and on March 14, 2014 - Ministerial Meeting for adoption of the report on the Ministerial Working Group on tourism sector development strategy for Africa: AU Agenda 2063.

The meeting that is taking place in the Republic of Seychelles is being organized by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union in collaboration with the government of Seychelles.

The AU says that tourism as a service sector has clearly emerged as potential driver of socio-economic development and growth in Africa, a continent that is richly endowed with natural resources. Hence globally, the tourism industry faces a range of inherent threats and opportunities. In the context of the 2004 AU Tourism Action Plan, the African Union is expected to develop a tourism policy and strategic framework for the accelerated development of tourism in Africa.

In view of the on-going elaboration of the AU Agenda 2063, the ministerial conference on tourism will be a platform to put in place a continental policy and strategy that provides guidance to the short-, medium- and long-term aspirations of Africa in the tourism sector.

The long-term objective of this policy and strategy is to enable Africa to develop its tourism industry to an appropriate level and maximize its benefit to the socio-economic development of the people of this continent.

The brainstorming session of the Ministerial Working Group will focus on various issues including:

• Management (census and classification) of African heritage tourism;

• Development of sites, African cultures and special attributes;

• African tourism marketing based on complementarity;

• Investment promotion including the private sector;

• Standards and norms including a tourism code of conduct and ethics for Africa;

• Human resource capacities for sector management;

• Capacity building for people working in the tourism sector;

• Tourism research and development;

• Professionalization of Africa tourism operators;

• Private and public investment in tourism infrastructure and products;

• Management of shared (cross-border) tourism resources (game reserves, waterfalls, etc.);

• Intra-Africa tourism for continental integration and cooperation;

• African tourism marketing strategy (campaign – e.g., promoting Africa as a brand for more impact and synergy, etc.);

• Connectivity facilitating visit of 2 or 3 countries in a package;

• Tourism visa facilities;

• Infrastructure and investment (e.g. promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports, etc.); and

• Tourism policy and regulatory framework.

Expected Results: This will include the following:

• Strategic orientations for the harmonization of tourism policy, regulatory framework, standards and norms including a code of conduct and ethics for Africa;

• Strong institutional and human resource capacities for sector management as well as for research and development;

• Enhanced share of Africa`s international tourism business which is now controlled by operators in other continents;

• Increased private and public investment in tourism infrastructure and products;

• Joint management of shared (cross-border) tourism resources (game reserves, waterfalls, etc.); and increased intra-Africa tourism to, inter alia, strengthen continental integration and cooperation;

• Boosting marketing of Africa`s tourism:

(i) African tourism marketing strategy (campaign – e.g. promoting Africa as a brand for more impact and synergy, etc.);

(ii) Improved connectivity to facilitate visits to 2 or 3 countries in a package;

(iii) Removing of tourism visa constraints;

(iv) Infrastructure and investment (e.g. promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports, etc.); and

(v) Capacity building for people working in the tourism sector.

Participants - The Ministerial Working Group will be composed of:

- Ministers responsible for Tourism of selected Member States of the AU;

- Representatives of the private sector of the tourism industry will be invited as observers to provide input; and

- Some Officials from the African Union Commission (AUC).

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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