The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, H.E. Alain St.Ange, officially opened the first African Union Working Group on Tourism meeting at the Seychelles Kempinski Resort today with a view to strengthen the contribution of this industry to transforming Africa`s development prospects.
Seychelles is hosting this meeting following the visit of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Seychelles in June 2013, when Seychelles highlighted the need for more policy coherence in tourism at the continental level.
The working group aims to propose practical contributions to implementing Agenda 2063 – the AU`s strategy for the next 50 years. The group`s recommendations will be considered by the wider African Union in this context.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by H.E. Jean-Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Seychelles; H.E. Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim, the AU (African Union) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy; H.E Minister Martinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa; and H.E Mr. Regis Immongault, Minister of Industry, Mines and Tourism of the Republic of Gabon.
Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim spoke about the possible opportunities for Africa if tourism as an industry was taken more seriously. Dr. Ibrahim thanked Seychelles for making the proposal for Africa to unite under the AU for a concerted look at tourism on the continent. Minister Van Schalkwyk underlined the need for practical policy proposals that strengthen the development of tourism as a key “export” industry for Africa, and Minister Immongault highlighted that “Tourism can be a unifying factor for the continent” when they addressed the conference.
In his address, Minister Jean-Paul Adam stressed that Africa had the potential to construct a new narrative for itself that was achievable through tourism development. This new narrative encompasses inclusive growth, wealth shared across borders, and sustainable development based on the creation of opportunities for local peoples.
Source: Travel and Tour World