UNWTO: Almost 500 Million International Tourists visited EU In 2016

International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by 4% in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40% of the world’s total. This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs [DG GROWTH] of the European Commission [EC].

Despite many challenges facing Europe in 2016, tourism has once again shown extraordinary strength and resilience, reinforcing its contribution to economic growth, job creation and social wellbeing in the European Union (EU-28).

The 28 countries of the EU boasted a solid growth in international tourist arrivals of above 4% in 2016, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million to 499 million.

2016 was the 7th consecutive year of sustained growth for the EU-28 following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, with 107 million more tourists than the pre-crisis level of 2008.

“Tourism is today one of the key pillars of the EU strategy for jobs and inclusive growth. UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the European Commission in monitoring international tourism trends, advance product development and sustainable tourism in Europe”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

South Africa: New Tourism Minister A Boost For Mzembi UNWTO Secretary General Election Victory

There are indications that a shift in South Africa’s influence on the election of a new UNWTO Secretary General in favour of Zimbabwe’s Mzembi following cabinet reshuffle.

The former minister, Derek Hanekom woke up this morning to know that he has been sacked by President Zuma.

Moving against South Africa’s President Zuma by imposing a series of votes of “no confidence” against his boss did not pay off for Derek Hanekom.

Replacing him is Tokozile Xasa. She is originally a teacher and taught at several high schools for 9 years before becoming the first female mayor of a district municipality in the transitional period of local government in the Eastern Cape.

She was a national executive member in the Women´s League from 1995-1997 and served as Regional Secretary for the Transkei Women’s League from 1993-1995.

She is an African National Congress [the ruling party in South Africa] activist and an ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature from 2001 until 2009 where she worked in local and traditional affairs in the Premier’s Office and in the Economic Affairs Portfolio Committees. Since 2009, she has been the Deputy Minister of Tourism in South Africa.

Tokozile Xasa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Psychology from the Walter Sisulu University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the MPA – University of Fort Hare.

Her deputy now is the Hon. Elisabeth Thabethe. She was born on September 26, 1959 and had been a Member of Parliament since 1994. She completed a Certificate in Economics with the University of South Africa [UNISA] and completed her advanced Diploma in Economics with the University of the Western Cape [UWC].

She was a Co-coordinator of the East Rand Women’s League RTT structure, a member of the ANC National Parliamentary Caucus, Gauteng Provincial Whip, and a House Whip from 1996 to 2004. She chaired the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism between 2004 and June 2005, and was also a member of the committees on Labor and Trade and Industry. She was the Deputy Minister of Small Business Development.

Today’s cabinet shuffle in South Africa may also shuffle cards in the upcoming election for the UNWTO Secretary General. South Africa is a key member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Executive Council and is known as an influencer on the African continent. This very much also counts for the travel, tourism, hospitality, and the aviation industry.

The UNWTO Secretary-General election is decided by the members of the UNWTO Executive Council. From Africa, members of the UNWTO Executive Council are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zambia.

There are currently two very capable and widely-liked candidates from Africa competing for the highest post in the United Nations World Tourism Organization. One is Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism from the Seychelles, and two is Walter Mzembi, the current Minister of Tourism and Hospitality from Zimbabwe.

One is from a country [Seychelles] with a message to the world: “We are friends of all, enemies of none,” The other candidate [Mzembi] has a global mind-set and is well liked. He has a youthful and out of the box approach and established an excellent reputation also with many countries and leaders critical of Zimbabwe. His home country [Zimbabwe] has big current challenges, but the potential of great opportunities tomorrow.

St.Ange shows the importance of personal friendship in collecting endorsements for his candidacy from private industry, from journalists and former government officials.

Mzembi had been traveling the world for months successfully drumming up support behind the scene.

He was endorsed by the African Union as Africa’s choice for UNWTO before Alain St.Ange entered the race.

Former South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, a white South African, was a supporter of UNWTO candidate Alain St.Ange, a white African from the Indian Ocean island nation, the Republic of the Seychelles.

Today, in a South African cabinet shuffle, Tourism Minister Hanekom replacement by Tokzile Xasa, a black South African may also adjust sympathies.

According to media sources, Xasa is very much respected in Zimbabwe, and she is known to have a good understanding and friendship with UNWTO candidate Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe.

Morocco Joins UNWTO As Partner Of International Year Of Sustainable Tourism For Development 2017

Morocco has become the latest country to join UNWTO as partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The commitment was delivered at the Moroccan Day of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism held on 20 March in Rabat.

Morocco has become the latest partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

On the occasion of the Moroccan Day of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism on 20 March, the government of Morocco committed to support the International Year and advance the promotion of the first African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism.

The African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, signed last November in Marrakesh during the Ministerial Forum on Tourism and Climate in Africa, on the side-lines of the COP22, aims at becoming an instrumental tool for the continent to engage in sustainable tourism best practices by reconciling social and economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the respect for the cultural diversity of each country.

“The commitment of the Kingdom of Morocco with the tourism sector is remarkable, not only by joining now the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, but also by other gestures done in the past such as partnering with the World Tourism Organization in promoting more responsible practices and leading the process of adoption of the African Charter” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.

The IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas: [1] Inclusive and sustainable economic growth; [2] Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction; [3] Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change; [4] Cultural values, diversity and heritage; and [5] Mutual understanding, peace and security.

Ayade Appoints New Tinapa MD, Others

The governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, on Wednesday approved the appointment of Ojong Ayiba Ayiba as the Managing Director of Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort.

This is as contained in a release signed by Christian Ita, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary to Cross River Government.

Similarly, Ita said the governor has also approved the appointment of Justina Ovat as the General Manager of Tinapa Lake Side Hotel.

The appointments, according to the release are to take immediate effect from when it was signed.

Until his appointment, Ayiba was the immediate past chairman of Ikom local Government Area of Cross River.

FG Working With UNWTO, UN To Implement Tourism Master Plan —Lai Mohammed

TOURISM, travel and hospitality industries in Nigeria are poised for speedy development and promotion as the Federal Government is working with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] and the specialized agency in the United Nations [UN] in the field of tourism, towards full implementation of the Tourism Master Plan.

This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in his remark at the 41st Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies [NANTA], today, at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja Lagos.

The Minister, represented by the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], Dr. Paul Adalikwu, speaking on the theme of the event, “Tourism in a Recessed Economy – The Way Forward,” said the Tourism Master Plan, when implemented, would “attract increased funding for the Nigerian tourism sector, enhancing the coordination of practitioners, tourism trade groups and government, the re-enactment of the Presidential Council on Tourism, review of tourism related laws and policy, putting in place, Tourism Satellite Account for the country, promoting domestic tourism and pursuing the ideals of Sustainable Tourism Development.”

The minister who revealed that government determination to implement the Tourism Satellite Account is to ensure that the actual contribution of tourism to the economy is properly captured as well as to track the direct and indirect effects of tourists spending on outputs and job creation, among others, in order to assist the Ministry in its determined drive to attract improved funding for the sector.

Lai Mohammed further said that in response to the economic challenge in the country, “this administration is not relenting on its drive to diversifying the economy. Tourism stands to be a major beneficiary of this initiative as new investments, jobs and growth will be stimulated in the sector.”

The Minister, who said travel agencies have a great power to influence and direct consumer demand compared to other industries, said they are not just intermediaries, “they act as an interface between supply and different segment of demand across the hospitality and tourism value chains.”

While giving the assurance that the government sees the tourism and travel sector as a serious and important arm of the economy, Mohammed enjoined the association to partner with the government to move the industry to greater heights.

He charged tourism and travel practitioners to show creativity and innovation in product development, partnership and collaborations across the industry and all ties of governments as well as invest in human capacity building for the sector.

Meanwhile, available statistics does not support the optimism of the minister and its agency, the NTDC, apex tourism agency in Nigeria.