Future of African tourism bright—UNWTO Sec General

The Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Taleb Rifai, yesterday said the future of tourism in Africa is bright following sustainable growth registered during the past two decades.

In his address at the official opening of the UNWTO general assembly last night, Rifai said Africa’s tourism is rising and by 2030 about 134 million people would have visited Africa’s tourism sites.

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He said in 1990, Africa had $15million in tourism revenue and the figure had risen to $52million in 2012.

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He said: “There has been rapid growth in Africa’s tourism in the past two decades and there is a prospective for the African countries to drive tourism to its full potential.”

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Rifai added: “Tourism creates employment and plays a pivotal role in developing the economy of a country.”

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He said the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia was the best so far in terms of attendance.

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140 diplomats, 750 delegates and 900 journalists are attending the general assembly.

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“This is remarkable by any standards. The two countries are centre for the future of the African countries,” he said.

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Rifai urged Africa to highlight more tourism prospects and celebrate the opportunities on the continent.

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“Africa should evolve strategies that effectively lure tourists to the continent and I hope that all the other African countries should also embark on efforts to develop tourism and host future UNWTO meetings,” he said.