The United Nations World Tourism Organization Commission for Africa (UNWTOCAF) 59th conference participants stressed the need for re-branding Africa to develop the continent's tourism sector.
Sierra Leone Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Sidie Yahya said there could not be any other continent that provides natural, cultural and historical diversity.
The major challenge facing Africa is the negative images held about the continent. A constitutional amendment or a gun shot at any par tarnishes the entire continent, according to him.
Negative scenarios are seen happening in every parts of the world, but the media do not exaggerate them as they do for Africa, the minister hinted, adding that re-branding and re-marketing the real facts on the ground is a task ahead of Africa's tourism sector.
Kenya Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala for his part told The Ethiopian Herald that Africans need to walk together to re-brand the continent. Though Africa is endowed with numerous tourism potential, it only receives three per cent of the global tourist flow annually. But, today the African economy is the fastest growing by the average of eight per cent. And this allows Africans nurture the sector more.
Speaking at the opening, Culture and Tourism Minister Dr. Hirut Woldemariam also said African tourism has been facing major challenges relating to lack of leadership, commitment, and poor execution capacity.
However, there is a huge potential to improve it through creating public awareness, according to her. Recently, Ethiopia has started to unlock its potentials by re-branding the country as 'Ethiopia Land of Origins' which is part and parcel of the new catchphrase of the conference.