During work on “2017: International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” participants stressed the importance of tourism in Africa, given its contribution to GDP, the inflow of foreign currency, creating employment, the fight against poverty, and the reconciliation of peoples and civilizations.
The Morroco Minister of Tourism, Mr. Lahcen Haddad, accompanied by a large delegation, took part in the 58th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast, which brought together the Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), African ministers of tourism, and senior officials and representatives of tourism in Africa. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss issues relating to the sector in the region, including tourism and ethics, sustainability, tourism and security, and the International Organization ST-EP, which was established in 2002 at the World Summit, on sustainable development in Johannesburg. It aims to contribute to poverty reduction through assistance to sustainable development projects.
Emphasis was also placed on the challenges that are detrimental to tourism development in the African continent – both environmentally and safety issues – hence the need for strong cooperation focused on increased ownership in consumption patterns and sustainable production with greater distribution of wealth between the north and the south.
To this end, Mr. Haddad, recalled the opportunity for Africa to integrate the principles of sustainable development to tourism policy, noting that there is a need to consider these issues of sustainability in all of the life cycles of the levels of the tourism product in an approach that engages stakeholders.
In this respect, Morocco has proposed the adoption of a “Sustainable Tourism African Charter” in anticipation of its signature by the African Ministers of Tourism at the COP22 in Marrakech. The adoption of the African Charter of Sustainable Tourism will capitalize on the experience of Morocco in particular through the draft Charter of Sustainable Tourism Moroccan which was adopted on January 25 in Rabat at the first edition of the Moroccan Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Day. The proposal also embodies the positioning of Morocco as a tourism sustainability leader in the region.
Indeed, the efforts made by Morocco for sustainable tourism has been recognized internationally and has won awards at the African level with a “Silver Award” at the 2nd edition of the “African Responsible Tourism Awards” in Cape Town, on the occasion of “World Travel Market Africa” for the “Best for Public Sector Policy/Support.”
The Ministry of Tourism had prior to this meeting contributed to the investigation of the UNWTO on the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and showed support as a co-lead author of the draft resolution on the code cited above. In his presentation to the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, the Tourism Minister also supported the draft resolution to proclaim 2017 by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
At this important regional event, Mr. Haddad reaffirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Tourism to strengthen its mobilization for the promotion of an active culture of sustainability through its commitment (as co-lead) of the “sustainable tourism program” derived from the decennial programming framework for Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) and supporting the implementation of its work program.
Also, a draft ratification of the agreement establishing the International Organization ST-EP, in anticipation of the appointment of Morocco as a founding member, was on the agenda of the meeting.