World Tourism Day: Min­is­ter Makes Case For Sus­tain­abil­ity In Tourism De­vel­op­ment

AFDB Seeks Syn­ergy In Africa

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - TRAVEL & TOURISM - By Brid­get Chiedu Onochie (Abuja) and Chuks Nwanne (La­gos)

IN­comem­o­ra­tion of this year’s World Tourism Day, the Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed, has dis­closed that sus­tain­abil­ity is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary if tourism is to achieve its full po­ten­tials, which in­clude be­ing a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic growth and poverty erad­i­ca­tion.

In a state­ment is­sued in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day as part of the cel­e­bra­tion, the Lai Mo­hammed hinted that, with­out sus­tain­abil­ity, tourism can­not gen­er­ate ben­e­fits to all stake­hold­ers, solve se­ri­ous prob­lems such as ex­treme poverty, and pre­serve pre­cious nat­u­ral and man-made re­sources on which hu­man pros­per­ity is based.

Re­fer­ring to the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, which is Sus­tain­able Tourism-tool-for-de­vel­op­ment, he said Mem­ber States of the UN World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNWTO) are en­cour­aged to make sure that their poli­cies and ac­tions for tourism de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment fully em­brace the prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­abil­ity.

‘’The sus­tain­abil­ity prin­ci­ples re­fer to the en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and so­cio-cul­tural as­pects of tourism de­vel­op­ment, and a suit­able bal­ance must be es­tab­lished among these three di­men­sions to guar­an­tee its long-term sus­tain­abil­ity,’’ Al­haji Mo­hammed said.

He said that in the con­text of the uni­ver­sal 2030 Agenda for the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS), the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly des­ig­nated 2017 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment, un­der­scor­ing its power to help erad­i­cate poverty.

‘’Tourism was sin­gled out in three of the 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals of sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and de­cent em­ploy­ment, sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion, and the con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­able use of oceans (Goals 8,12 & 14).

‘’To­day, tourism gen­er­ates 10% of the world’s GDP, one in ev­ery 10 jobs, and 30% of world trade in ser­vices. It is key to many coun­tries’ economies and liveli­hoods. It has evolved from an in­dus­try en­gaged in and pa­tron­ized only by the rich and elites of the so­ci­ety, to an in­dus­try en­joyed by all with sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the na­tion’s econ­omy.

‘’As an in­vis­i­ble ex­port, tourism cre­ates a flow of for­eign cur­rency into the econ­omy of a na­tion through pub­lic rev­enue which comes in the form of taxes, du­ties, li­censes etc; busi­ness rev­enue de­rived from ser­vices pro­vided by restau­rants, ho­tels, trans­port, shops etc and from lo­cal res­i­dent rev­enue which come in the form of wages, salaries, rent, in­ter­ests in in­vest­ments. Most of these rev­enues es­pe­cially those that ac­crue to the busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments and the lo­cal res­i­dents are usu­ally ploughed back into the econ­omy to cre­ate ad­di­tional busi­ness thereby gen­er­at­ing grater rev­enues and in­creas­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ the Min­is­ter said.

While gov­ern­ment will play its part in the de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment of tourism and in mak­ing it more sus­tain­able, the min­is­ter said the real key to mak­ing Nige­ria’s tourism in­dus­try flour­ish lies with the in­dus­try it­self and the busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions at its heart.

‘’Gov­ern­ments use a num­ber of mech­a­nisms to en­cour­age greater pri­vate-sec­tor en­gage­ment, cap­tur­ing its ex­per­tise in ways that will be ben­e­fi­cial to the com­pa­nies them­selves as well as pop­u­la­tion. The pri­vate sec­tor, on the other hand, has an op­por­tu­nity to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with gov­ern­ment to yield un­prece­dented re­turns in both eco­nomic and hu­man cap­i­tal, and ful­fill­ing the prom­ise of a more equitable, pro­duc­tive, and pros­per­ous global com­mu­nity,’’ Al­haji Mo­hammed said.

Over­all, he said, sus­tain­able tourism re­quires the in­formed par­tic­i­pa­tion of all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, as well as strong po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship to en­sure wide par­tic­i­pa­tion and con­sen­sus build­ing.

Mean­while, the African De­vel­op­ment Bank (AFDB) has called for col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tions from all stake­hold­ers for sus­tain­able tourism de­vel­op­ment in Africa. The call hinged on the Bank’s recog­ni­tion of the fact that Africa’s tourism and travel in­dus­try can serve as an engine room of progress for so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the bank, this year’s theme for the World Tourism day pre­sented a unique op­por­tu­nity to raise aware­ness about the con­tri­bu­tion of sus­tain­able tourism among pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor de- ci­sion-mak­ers, as well as the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

“In ad­di­tion to its in­vest­ments in tourism in­fra­struc­ture such as ports, air­ports, roads and rail, AFDB is pro­mot­ing the cre­ative and cul­tural in­dus­tries to di­ver­sify the eco­nomic base of African coun­tries and at­tract tourism.

“The Bank has, through var­i­ous ini­tia­tives, given tourism de­vel­op­ment a new fo­cus”, the state­ment read.

Through its Fash­io­nomics Africa ini­tia­tive, the bank has been at the fore­front of sup­port­ing the de­vel­op­ment of cre­ative in­dus­tries that uti­lize lo­cal prod­ucts, es­pe­cially cot­ton, in Africa.

“The Bank’s Food Cui­sine Africa plat­form con­nects key play­ers and new­com­ers in the food in­dus­try in Africa.

“Even the fash­ion in­dus­try has the abil­ity to fuel sus­tain­able tourism. Fash­ion Weeks, a fash­ion in­dus­try events, gen­er­ate con­sid­er­able foot traf­fic for cities like La­gos, which hosts the an­nual La­gos Fash­ion and De­sign Week. But there are needs to be a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt on the part of African gov­ern­ments to tap into the po­ten­tials that fash­ion has, to grow the tourism in­dus­try.

“Also, AFDB’S Visa Open­ness In­dex mea­sures how open African coun­tries are when it comes to visas by look­ing at what they ask of cit­i­zens from other coun­tries in Africa when they travel.”

The bank fur­ther held that Visa open­ness blends with AFDB’S In­te­grate Africa agenda, which seeks to make Africa more open, pros­per­ous and in­ter­con­nected.

“Af­ter adopt­ing a visa-on-ar­rival pol­icy, Rwanda wit­nessed a 22 per cent an­nual in­crease in the num­ber of tourism ar­rivals for meet­ings, con­fer­ences and events. Many vis­i­tors in turn, have be­come in­vestors in the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to Prin­ci­pal Pol­icy Ex­pert at the AFDB, Jean-guy Afrika, visa open­ness was not the so­lu­tion to all prob­lems, struc­tural as­pects such as the size of the mar­ket, in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity and pur­chas­ing power, are also im­por­tant. He noted that the 2017 Africa Tourism Mon­i­tor – an an­nual re­search pub­li­ca­tion by the African De­vel­op­ment Bank in col­lab­o­ra­tion with New York Univer­sity, Africa House, and the Africa Travel As­so­ci­a­tion – high­lighted the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing a sus­tain­able and re­silient tourism in­dus­try through in­no­va­tion, en­trepreneur­ship and tech­nol­ogy.

“The AFDB has for many years high­lighted in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment as one of its fo­cal pri­or­i­ties to fa­cil­i­tate ac­ces­si­bil­ity and trade across the con­ti­nent. The Bank is also sup­port­ing the con­struc­tion of a new ter­mi­nal at Ghana’s Ko­toka In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The project is ex­pected to make the coun­try a des­ti­na­tion of choice with a yearly tar­get of five mil­lion pas­sen­gers,” he added.

The idea of World Tourism Day was ini­ti­ated by a Nige­rian, late Mr. Ig­natius Amaduwa Atigbi, the then Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Nige­ria Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion (NTA), now Nige­ria Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (NTDC), and Chair­man of Africa Travel Com­mis­sion (ATC). It was adopted at the 22nd Gen­eral As­sem­bly of the In­ter­na­tional Union of Of­fi­cial Travel Or­ga­ni­za­tions (IUOTO) in 1971.

The 27th of Septem­ber of ev­ery year is marked as the World Tourism Day to cre­ate aware­ness for tourism as a tool for eco­nomic growth and pro­mo­tion of in­ter­na­tional peace and un­der­stand­ing.

A tourist at­trac­tion in Nige­ria

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