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Renewing Capacity for Tourism Development

Renewing Capacity for Tourism Development ( Madrid / Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire 24 April 2008 – UNWTO is actively supporting African destinations which have the capacity to renew their tourism development after having recently suffered from internal crisis or terrorist attacks. These efforts coincide with the overall support provided by the United Nations to foster social and economic stability in the region.

UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli is currently visiting African countries (Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritania) to demonstrate the Organizations’ commitment to help re-launch their tourism development potential.

His visit to Côte d'Ivoire precedes the one by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and reflects how UNWTO’s policies and actions are in line with the general UN agenda on sustainable development.

“Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa is performing well, with a growth rate significantly above the world average”, Mr. Frangialli said in a letter addressed to Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He underscored particularly Côte d’Ivoire’s “strong potential in business tourism, beach tourism, eco tourism and handicrafts”. He added that this country “used to be quite advanced compared to its regional neighbours, (and) should not miss the chance to be part of such a trend.”

Mr. Frangialli met with President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, Tourism Minister Sidiki Konate, members of the tourism community and visited the UN office.

Active support

Mr. Frangialli informed the UN Secretary-General how recent political developments in this country encourage the UNWTO “to act without delay”.

Among other activities, the Organization has agreed to convene a major Conference in September 2008 for investors, tourism stakeholders and airlines, in order to raise the awareness on the opportunities in this sector. This gathering will also include parliamentarians and local authorities and count on the support of international experts.

Further activities will range from supporting marketing efforts in foreign tourism markets, advancing UNWTO’s ST-EP Initiative (Sustainable Tourism – Elimination of Poverty), as well as facilitating the full reintegration of Côte d’Ivoire in the global tourism community and its return to an important role within UNWTO. The Organization will offer similar support to Mauritania.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon was informed that UNWTO counts on the support of other UN agencies - such as the UN Agency for Industrial Development (UNIDO) for the activity related to handicrafts or the UN Development Programme (UNDP) - for the success of such initiatives.

Next to the economic and social objectives, UNWTO aims at supporting the peace process and the internal dialogue between the various groups and communities by providing jobs and opportunities to those who have been engaged as soldiers or militants in the conflict.

UNWTO Media Section T: (34) 91-567-81 78 / (34) 91-567-81 00 / F: (34) 91-567-8218 - 0

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