UNWTO Conference to explore

UNWTO Conference to explore

Madrid :African tourism conference to be held in Ghana next week is expected to accelerate pace of travel and tourism in the continent .

The UNWTO Regional Conference Enhancing Brand Africa – Fostering Tourism Development will bring together a wide variety of African tourism stakeholders to explore how build a stronger brand for Africa as a tourism destination (Accra, Ghana, 17-19 August 2015).

“is one of Africa’s most promising economic sectors, but the sector’s capacity to fully contribute to inclusive and sustainable development across the continent is often hindered by negative perceptions and the generalization of crises situations in specific locations. At the same time, the numerous positive stories from Africa remain untold to a global audience, further impeding positive perceptions of the region ,” UNWTO states.

The upcoming UNWTO conference Enhancing Brand Africa – Fostering Tourism Development will bring together a wide range of public and private-sector stakeholders in tourism, media and communications, and other related fields to:Analyze the situation of Brand Africa and its impact on tourism in the region ;Identify the key challenges facing Brand Africa and that of African countries ;Exchange national experiences on country branding and tourism branding ;Explore how African destinations can successfully build a strong brand in an increasingly competitive marketplace and a constantly changing business environment ;Create synergies among African countries towards greater cooperation in the promotion and positioning of a common African Tourism Brand.

The Conference will be opened by John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana.

Among the confirmed speakers to gather in Accra, Ghana, are the Ministers of Tourism of Ghana, Cameroon, Namibia, Seychelles and Zimbabwe; the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam; and Zain Asher from CNN International, the media partner of the Conference, who will deliver a key note speech on “What is Brand Africa?”.

Meanwhile,  Africa’s tourist arrivals have declined by an estimated six per cent. Africa’s tourism demand weakened in 2014 after years of solid growth, affected mainly by the Ebola outbreak, among other challenges.

“Africa’s international tourist numbers on the other hand declined by an estimated six per cent as a consequence of the decrease in arrivals to North Africa (-7 per cent) as well as to sub-Saharan Africa (-5 per cent),” stated UNWTO director Dr Taleb Rifai.

The UNWTO added that Africa’s limited data currently available for January-April 2015 points to a six per cent decline, as African destinations struggle to recover from the misperceptions affecting the continent.The UNWTO is optimistic that close to 500 million tourists are estimated to travel abroad by August end.