23 October 2012

Africa: UNWTO Partners to up Sustainable Tourism

Considering Africa's potential in biodiversity, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has pledged its support to African countries to develop sustainable tourism through the management and protection of national parks.

Responding to declaration that was endorsed by participants of the First Pan African Conference on Development of Sustainable Tourism in National Parks the UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai said African countries need to work together to achieve a common goal in developing the continent's tourism.

He said Africa needs a new approach to development of tourism, most important working together with local communities neighboring the national parks, in order to bring a joint responsibility in protecting biodiversity for sustainable tourism base.

"We need to work together to protect and sustain national parks and we must share our knowledge as Africans in order to develop sustainable tourism," Dr. Rifai told the conference delegates.

In their declaration, read before the UNWTO chief, participants of the conference, including a group of African tourism ministers, national parks managers, tourism professionals and policymakers, said this continent has been endowed with extreme diversity of nature (flora and fauna) parks and other such protected ecological areas with economic benefits to respective countries.

Through their declaration, the conference participants had encouraged African governments to consider the role and potential for sustainable tourism in national parks and protected areas, as a priority in each country's national policy.

They also recommended African countries to have high consideration of issues related to good governance of sustainable tourism and particularly, the need to associate local communities in management of parks and other protected areas, so as to ensure that they gain concrete benefits through employment and income generation.

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