Africa Focus: Stability vital in Africa’s sustainable tourism growth
Political stability and peace will be vital if Africa is to realize the meaningful development of the tourism industry, a senior official of the industry told Xinhua on Monday.
Louis D’Amore, founder and president of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism, made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) general assembly co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Without political stability, it will be difficult to develop tourism, the official stressed.
The International Institute for Peace through Tourism is a non- profit organization dedicated to fostering travel and tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding and cooperation. It aims to help bring about a peaceful and sustainable world using the travel and tourism industry.
D’Amore told Xinhua that political instability is one of the challenges the African continent needs to deal with. Instability in certain parts of the continent is posing a threat to the development of the industry, the official said.
Acknowledging that the African continent is endowed with abundant tourism attraction facilities, the official said international tourists were normally not willing to visit countries whose political stability is not guaranteed.
“We need to live together in peace and harmony and ensure political stability in order to promote tourism in Africa. Without peace, tourism promotion will be difficult and I encourage all political leaders to ensure peace on the continent,” he said.
On Saturday, the organization held a tree planting ceremony at Victoria Falls Peace Park near the Victoria Falls on the Zambian side as part of efforts to promote peace on the African continent to ensure sustainable development of the tourism industry.
Speaking on the occasion, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rufai said tourism was the most fantastic and fascinating human activity of the 21 century which should be used to promote peace among people on the African continent.
The need to promote peace in Africa as a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the tourism industry was also echoed by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Walter Muzembi during the official opening of the general assembly.
The Zimbabwean minister said on Sunday evening in the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls where the event was held that peace and stability were critical for the development and promotion of the tourism industry.
He said all concerned parties needed to work hard to sustain the growth of the tourism industry by ensuring that there was peace and stability on the continent.
According to UNWTO figures, international tourist arrivals have increase from 15 million in 1990 to 50 million last year while tourism earnings have increased from 6 billion U. S. dollars in 1990 to 34 billion dollars last year.