UNWTO official says to continue helping Africa boost tourist arrivals

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has reiterated its commitment to continue supporting African countries to boost the number of tourist arrivals so as to spur economic growth and job creation on the continent.

Elcia Grandcourt, UNWTO Programme Director for Africa, told Xinhua Friday at an ongoing three-day workshop in Addis Ababa that UNWTO is also committed to helping African countries address the challenges in tourism sector.

"Today and yesterday, we talked about the issues of travel facilitation, for example, accessibility, visa facilitation, the right and appropriate infrastructure, the right policy framework-- these are all the challenges that are there," she said. "We work with our members to try and see how progressively we can have to address these issues."

Africa attracted 53.4 million international visitors in 2015, according to UNWTO. And it has a prediction of 134 million international tourist arrivals in Africa by 2030.

The workshop has been organized with aim to, among others, creating a platform for African destinations and all the relevant stakeholders to discuss ways of minimizing current constraints and improving the performance of the tourism sector as well as the economic and social wellbeing of local communities.

It also aims to enable the participants to explore the key principles of developing and promoting sustainable, competitive and quality tourism products.

Grandcourt said that the workshop, over the past two days, has seen very good debate, whereby participants shared their experiences in their respective countries.

"We hope that when the participants go back to their respective countries, they are able to take some of the elements that we have been discussing and to apply it in their own context," said Grandcourt.

"The work is going on, and UNWTO is committed here to help our members and Ethiopia with the development of the tourism sector," she added.

Source: Global Times