The Republic of The Gambia actively participated at the 1st Regional Conference on Strengthening Brand Africa for the swift recovery of the tourism sector under the auspices of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) held in Namibia from the 14th to 16th June 2021.
The opening ceremony was presided over by the President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Professor Hage Geingob.
Hon. Hamat N.K. Bah, the minister of Tourism and Culture led the Gambian delegation. The Minister was accompanied by Mrs. Cordu Linguere Jabang-Senghore, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Mr. Abubacarr Camara, the director general of The Gambia Tourism Board.
The objectives of the conference are to leverage tourism as a cross-cutting sector with high impact on national and regional branding to enhance the image of African destinations as the building blocks of the overall image of Africa; engage the public and the private sectors as well as local communities and the diaspora in promoting positive stories and experiences about Africa; developing synergies between countries to further strengthen the positioning of the continent; create and enhance destinations' capacity and skills on brand development and management and marketing, including social media and storytelling, and effective communication among others.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili welcomed the common determination to rethink as well as restart tourism. "African destinations must take the lead in celebrating and promoting the continent's vibrant culture, youthful energy and entrepreneur spirit, and its rich gastronomy", he said. (Source; unwto.org)
Windhoek pledge puts people first
In the back of a series of workshops and a Ministerial Think Tank, UNWTO's African Member States unanimously endorsed the Windhoek Pledge on Advocating Brand Africa. Under the terms of the Windhoek Pledge, Members will engage both public and private sector stakeholders as well as local communities to build a new, inspiring narrative for tourism across the continent. They will identify positive, human-centred stories, and through strengthened partnerships with the media, showcase them to the world, reaching new and diverse tourism source markets.
Over the coming weeks, UNWTO will work with all signatories to create a common roadmap towards establishing Brand Africa. This will include establishing common values and goals and identifying funding needs and opportunities as well as providing branding toolkits for destinations, including guidelines and recommendations and training and capacity building in market intelligence, digital marketing and data management. (Source; unwto.org).