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Welcome Remarks by the Chairperson of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee (Stc) Sub-Committee on Tourism and Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe, Hon. P. Mupfumira (Sen) on the Occasion 2 October 2018

October 02, 2018

NAIROBI, KENYA

WELCOME REMARKS BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION SPECIALISED TECHNICAL COMMITTEE (STC) SUB-COMMITTEE ON TOURISM AND MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, ZIMBABWE, HON. P. MUPFUMIRA (SEN) ON THE OCCASION : 2 OCTOBER 2018

• The Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Najib Balala;
• Colleague Ministers from all over Africa, here present;
• Your Excellency, Secretary General for the World Tourism Organisation, (UNWTO), Mr Zurab Pololikashvilli;
• AU Commissioner on Infrastructure and Energy, H.E Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid;
• Heads of Delegations and Senior Officials;
• Distinguished Delegates;
• Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my singular honour and priviledge to be here with you today for this high-level Continental meeting on Tourism. At the outset, allow me to pay tribute to one of the towering African Leaders, the leader of this beautiful country, His Excellency the President, Mr Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Mr President, on behalf of my Colleague Ministers from across Africa, I want to thank you very much for having come to officially open and grace this auspicious occasion, despite the demands and tight schedule of your high office. We thank you Sir.

Let me also take this opportunity to commend and congratulate the African Union, and Kenyan Authorities, for organising this meeting. Indeed we have enjoyed the warm hospitality from our Kenyan brothers and sisters over the last few days. We say Thank you to the Magical Kenya.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This meeting is being held as a squeal to the one held in Lome, Togo on 17 March 2017 which produced profound recommendations among which were notably; the formulation of the AUC Continental Framework on Tourism and the proposed establishment of an African Tourism Organisation. It is envisaged that the Continental Tourism Framework will provide a clear roadmap of activities towards the attainment of the African Union objectives, within the framework of the AU Agenda 2063 First Ten Year Implementation Plan. Today’s meeting is therefore a continuation of landmark decisions and commitments for us to turn promises into action. The meeting will further bring greater clarity and build stronger partnerships for the steps we can take, to ensure that development cooperation plays a more strategic and effective role in Africa’s tourism growth matrix.

I feel honoured and humbled to lead these proceedings following the appointment of Zimbabwe to the Chairmanship of the Tourism Sub-committee in Lome. I hope our deliberations and strategies will contribute to the growth of tourism in our countries and increase tourism’s contribution to economic, social and cultural development. Indeed, let us all use this opportunity to identify key principles which can strengthen our tourism sectors through working together for the betterment of the African Continent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is imperative that we reflect also on Africa’s steadily rising tourism performance and foster sustainable development in the region. With international tourist arrivals growing by 7% in the region, Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism regions in the world. Between 2000 and 2017 international tourist arrivals more than doubled (from 26 million to 62 million). By 2030, the UNWTO forecasts this figure to reach 134 million arrivals. However, if this figure is expressed as a percentage of the current global arrivals, it would just give Africa a 10% of the total market share. It is worth noting that, despite the detrimental effects of the current global economic and financial crisis which began in 2008, the estimates and forecasts of the UNWTO show the resilience and positive results of African tourism, in contrast to the declining forecast for other regions of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More forceful and concerted actions are needed to increase tourism growth and create direct and indirect jobs in our travel and tourism industries. These efforts will provide us with the opportunities to better align policy actions which have a strong bearing on the future of African tourism. Structural barriers continue to hinder progress in Africa. The establishment of the Tourism Sub-committee under the STC on Infrastructure and Energy, indeed, provides the opportunity to address cross-cutting issues that impede the growth of Tourism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are also satisfied that the UNWTO has strengthened cooperation at Continental level, having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union in 2014. This gesture attests to the organisation’s commitment to develop African Tourism in a manner which it deserves. We also applaud efforts by regional banks and financial institutions, organisations such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs), for relatively and actively participating and supporting Tourism activities in Africa. Africa needs to strengthen the work of the RECs if it is to realise full potential of her economies, including Tourism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing my remarks, allow me Honourable Ministers to thank you for taking time off your busy schedules and participate at this important meeting.

I thank you.

AUC Commissioners: 
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