By Ogova Ondego, Tourism-Review.Com and Forimmediaterelease.net
Published June 21, 2011
While some sub-Saharan African countries are aware of the need to focus on developing their travel and tourism sector, most are yet to form any efficient strategy to reach their potential according to a World Economic Forum and African Development Bank and World Bank report.
The publication, the Africa Competitiveness Report 2011, not only assesses the opportunities and possible limits to the industry but also states that Africa is not fully utilising all its natural and cultural resources; it calls upon African governments to make competitiveness their priority.
Although one in every 10 jobs is within the tourism and travel sector globally, the African job market features only one in 20. Some of the hindrances to Africa’s competitiveness are concerns over safety and security, health and hygiene and challenges of proper infrastructure.
Selecting the right tourist product and investing in it is a great strategic move. For example, in mid-nineties, Rwanda started focusing on local rare gorilla population and today, the targeted industry is booming.
Meanwhile, “Tourism: Linking cultures” is the theme of the World Tourism Day 2011 that shall be marked worldwide on September 27, 2011.
The purpose of the World Tourism Day that is celebrated annually on September 27 is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political, and economic value. The event, according to its formulators, is aimed at addressing global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution of tourism sector in reaching these goals.
“The message on this World Tourism Day is that, thanks to tourism, millions of people from different cultures are being brought together around the world like never before,” says UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai. “This interaction between people of different backgrounds and ways of life represents an enormous opportunity to advance tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding.”
In 2010, some 940 million tourists are reported to have travelled to a another country, coming into contact with tangible (art, monuments) and intangible (music, food, traditions) cultures and thus furthering understanding of the values of cultural diversity and international understanding.
Culture, a vital tool for the development of a sustainable tourism, must be thoughtfully managed and protected as set out in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism which states that: “Tourism policies and activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological, and cultural heritage, which they should protect and pass on to future generations.”