“Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development”, was the theme of this year’s seminar in the context of the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa [Abuja, Nigeria, 4-6 June]. The meeting included a ministerial dialogue on the importance of tourism statistics under the topic “Better measure, better manage”.
The Commission for Africa attracted 18 tourism ministers from the region and key tourism stakeholders from 36 countries. Participants underscored how tourism projects can contribute to poverty alleviation, the importance of finding innovative approaches to developing tourism in the region, and the need to find and foster new partnerships and resources to develop the sector.
Against the backdrop of the growth of international tourism in Africa, tourism’s overall economic impact needs to be measured accurately in order for tourism strategies to effectively contribute to national economies. The ministerial dialogue addressed the significance of collecting and compiling quantitative and qualitative data, as well as the importance of commitments from national stakeholders and institutional partnerships for a rigorous tourism statistics system.
“The priorities of my mandate have been formed by listening to the needs of our member states and include the crucial targets of creating more and better tourism jobs, improving tourism education and fostering innovation”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. “We need to build tight links between public and private sectors for tourism to transform growth across the continent, and for the benefit of its people”, he added.
The meeting was attended by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who stated that “Nigeria has great potentials for tourism and investment”, underscoring the relevance of the sector, both regarding its contribution to sustainable development and its role to further diversify the economy and increase social resilience.
In this context, the need for establishing a Statistical Framework for the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism [MST] was addressed. This Framework includes environmental, social and cultural tourism components geared towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The next African Commission meeting will take place during the second quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, Lagos State is set to play host to African Tourism Ministers and other delegates attending the ongoing 61st meeting of United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Commission for Africa currently holding in Abuja. The ministers’ “technical visit” to Lagos State according to a statement released on Tuesday by the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture will take place on Wednesday 6th June, 2017.
Nigeria won the bid to host this elite gathering of African tourism policy formulators and regulators and Lagos State, being a leading tourism haven in West Africa and a key partner of the Federal Government in hosting the meeting is the only other state playing host to the visitors’ aside the Federal Capital Territory.
The delegates visiting the State will comprise of Ministers of Tourism from African countries; top executives of United Nations World Tourism Organisation; heads of Tourism promotions agencies as well as tourism and travel stakeholders across the African continent.
According to the release, the team will pay a technical visit to Eko Atlantic City to witness the ongoing transformation of the waterfront area into an entirely new smart city with abundant business and tourism prospects.
They will also have a tour of Freedom Park on Broad Street and a few other tourist attactions in the state in addition to their courtesy visit to Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
The delegates from the foremost global tourism body will be led on the visit by Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General and Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
“This visit by the African tourism ministers and other delegates to Lagos State is yet another golden opportunity to market our great state to the world and to express our commitment to the initiative that Africa must first and foremost appreciate and promote its incomparable beauty through domestic tourism before the rest of the world can celebrate us,” says Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture.