The potential of Tourism in poverty alleviation and to induce transformative change has been addressed in Lusaka, capital city of Zambia, in the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference on Promoting Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement in Africa.
The Conference, a flagship event of the Africa region for the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, opened on November 16 and lasted till 18, and was coordinated by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in cooperation with the Government of Zambia.
According to UNWTO statistical data, the African continent had an increase of international arrivals of 8% in 2016, compared to the previous year. This, together with the increasing commitment of African governments to position tourism in their agenda, reveals the gaining prominence of the sector as well as its strong potential to foster positive change and transformation.
The Conference that was preceded by a technical workshop to revise strategies and approaches to develop sustainable tourism initiatives in the African continent, tackled these issues as well as the potential of sustainable tourism to lead policies to foster communities inclusion. The summit was attended by more than 200 international and local participants from Angola, Egypt, Jordan, Cabo Verde, Guinea Equatorial Kenya, Mali, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Switzerland, Spain, Union of the Comoros, Malawi, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The conference opened with a Ministerial Dialogue on Tourism, Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in the African continent, attended by Charles Banda, Minister of Tourism and Arts of Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development of Zambia, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism of Kenya, Abdelgadir Dmein Hassan Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife of Sudan and Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director at the International Trade Center.
The session was moderated by Brownyn Nielsen, Editor-in-Chief at CNBC Africa who invited the attendees to showcase sustainable tourism practices in the region and how the sector could help achieve the SDGs and generate benefits for African societies.
The framework of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals were defined together with the African Union Agenda 2063 as the best scenario to foster sustainable tourism in the continent.