REPORT ON GHANA’S PARTICIPATION IN THE 56TH MEETING OF THE UNWTO – COMMISSION FOR AFRICA ANDREGIONALSEMINAR ON “TOURISM AND AIR CONNECTIVITY INAFRICA”; LUANDA, ANGOLA,28 – 30 APRIL 2014

1.      INTRODUCTION

The UNWTO Commission for Africa ( CAF ) during its Fifty – fourth meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, on 24th April 2013, decided that the fifty- sixth meeting,to be followed by a Regional Seminar on “Tourism and Air Connectivity in Africa” be held in Luanda, Angola from 28th to 30th April 2014, at the invitation of the Government of Angola. Ghana as a Member State of the UNWTO Commission for Africa was invited to the two programmes.

2.0    GHANA’S DELEGATION

Ghana’s delegation to the seminar was led by the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare. Other members of the Delegation were Mrs. Olivia Opoku-Adomah, Director/Research, Statistics and Information, and Mr. Edwin S. Owusu-Mensah, Director Procurement and Special Duties.

The Team left Accra on Sunday, April 27th 2014 for South Africa en route to Luanda, Angola and arrived at the Luanda International Airport (Aeroporto 4de Fevereiro) on Monday April, 28, 2014. The delegation was taken straight to the venue of the meetings, Hotel de ConvencoesdeTalatona for the opening ceremony.

3.0    UNWTO CAF FIFTY-SIXTH MEETING – OPENING CEREMONY

The opening ceremony began with Ms. Elcia Grandcourt, Programme Director of the UNWTO Regional Programme for Africa giving her welcome remarks. After the welcome remarks, opening addresses were given by the following prominent personalities, viz:

  • Dr. Boubacar Djibo, Director of the Air Transport Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
  • H.E. Mr. Augusto da Silva Tornas, Minister of Transport, Angola
  • Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO
  • H.E. Mr. Pedro Mutindi, Minister of Hospitality and Tourism,Angola.

All the Presenters congratulated Member States, Affiliate Members, other invited delegations and other representatives of the tourism industry present, for participating in the 56th meeting and the Regional Seminar and urged African countries to pay greater attention to the aviation industry in general, and air connectivity which has a direct consequence on tourism promotion.

The Secretary-General in his report presented to members gave his review of major tourism trends, UNWTO’s management vision and priorities as well as the status and advances in the administrative and financial matters of theOrganization. The report was well received.

The Report of the 5th edition of the International Tourism Fair of Madrid (FITUR) and CASA Africa, representing the Spanish Government, was also presented to the meeting.

The report highlighted a growing number of participants in the forum over the years, affirming the growing interest of Spanish investors and Tourism Stakeholders in the African Tourism Sector. It was also revealed that for the first time, potential investors from the Portuguese tourism private sector participated in FITUR. Due to the success of this innovation, it has been decided to extend participation in the Business to Business (B2B) sessions of the forum to Portuguese potential tourism investors as well as other international tourism stakeholders for future editions, beginning from the 6th edition of the Forum. Another issue highlighted was the introduction of a sponsorship proposal at the 5th edition which has given private companies the opportunity to showcase themselves during the Forum.

4.0    SIGNING OF AGREEMENT WITH SEYCHELLES ON UNWTO/ICAO FIRST JOINT MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON TOURISM AND AIR TRANSPORT IN AFRICA

The UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr. TalebRifaai signed a formal agreement with the Minister of Tourism of Seychelles for Seychelles to host the UNWTO/ICAO First Joint Ministerial Conference on Tourism and Air Transport in Africa to be held in Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles from 14-15 October 2014. Tourism Ministers were urged to engage their colleague Ministers responsible for Transport and Aviation to enable them attend the Conference.

5.0    WORKING SESSIONS 1

5.1    SESSION 1:       Air Transport and Tourism Policies - Addressing

common issues for growth and development.

 

The session was moderated by Dr. Dirk Glaesser, Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism, UNWTO and the Panelists included H.E. Mr. Pedro Mutindi, H.E. Mr. Augusto da Silva Tomas, Dr. Boubacar Djibo, Dr. Elijah Chingosho, Secretary-General of African Airlines Association and Mr. R. Makimbe, Director, Infrastructure and Services, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC),

 

Among issues addressed during this session were trends and dynamics that have occurred in the tourism and transport sectors, focusing on new policies created to promote and enhance sustainable development in many emerging tourist destinations. Special attention was given to the Yamoussoukro Declaration (1988) which concerns the liberalization of access to air transport markets in Africa,shedding light on the importance and implementation of its objectives.

Pertinent issues that came up during the discussion:

 

  • UNWTO has forged a partnership with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum called the Tourism Coalition to strengthen and promote tourism.
  • The Knowledge Network of Innovation and Research Entities,will hold the 2nd Global Forum in Mexico.
  • Member Relations Committee - is committed to public private participation (PPP) in tourism. It was stressed that the private sector brings on board, expertise, investment and resources, and also facilitates efficiency. Again, it was stated that the PPPmodel is not new to tourism. An example of PPP and Tourism collaboration is the facilitation of large scale events like the Olympic Games.
  • Importance of OnlinePurchases of Tourism Products – it was stated that 85% of Tourists from the US and Europe research their destinations online. Governments were therefore urged to specifically target the tourism market and also measure new customer relationships using the worldwide web.
  • The Hosts and Organisers of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum announced the upcoming Conference to be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya from September 29 to October 1, 2014.

The Forum annually brings together over 4000 Investors and is geared towards breaking key barriers to entry, promoting dialogue between Investors and Governments on issues such as Air connectivity, Land, Visa Acquisition etc. It also works closely with the UNWTO on the issue of poaching in Africa.

The Forum also focuses on Hotel Chain development in Africa (ie where developments are taking place, which business/company is leading the drive etc).

  • Google Analytics of Tourism - this uses Key Words/Locations/Issues to find out feedback on the services provided at destinations.
  • Social Media. It was agreed that using Social Media to sell Tourism was both affordable and very effective, so Members were asked to use it.
  • Seychelles stressed the importance of PPP in tourism development and indicated that PPP can turn tourism around; the island virtually depends on Tourism for its upkeep. The Seychelles Tourism Board is private sector-driven. It is imperative that the private sector is empowered and its resources harnessed for tourism development. The private sector must be encouraged to make money, as that is its raison d’etre for doing business, whilst countries also benefit from them in the long run.
  • Nigeria also looked at the role of the Press and how sensationalism distorts the visitor’s view of Africa. Also, the International Press syndicate ought to be watched. The negative aspects of the social media need to be taken into consideration when planning, developing andpromoting our tourism.

 

  • South Africa stressed the real time advantage of quick response to negative media. It urged African countries to immediately respond to negative stories. It also indicated the need to utilize our academia and their research findings.

In conclusion, the representative of the UNWTO stressed that the Organization was not interested in promoting just anybody’s business but rather promoting public-private partnership. He stressed on the private sector’s possession of a lot of expertise which ought to be tapped into. Finally, he urged members such as Hong Kong Polytechnic, University of Lausanne, France, Universities in Madrid, Spain etc.

 

The Representatives from the Canary Island gave a brief presentation on Tourism on the island which is one of the seventeen (1) autonomous communities of Spain. The archipelago’s beaches, climate and natural attractions are its major tourism resources and its economy is based primarily on tourism, which makes up 32% of its GDP. He also stressed the importance of PPP in the development of the island’s tourism.

5.2    Tourism and Biodiversity – Zero Tolerance for Poaching In Africa by 2020.

 

This presentation, based on the result of a studywas made by Mr. Dick Plesser. He said that wildlife was one of the most precious resources in Africa, but it is seriously threatened by poaching. He stated that the average length of stay of wildlife-watching tourists is 10 days, whilst the average spending per day is USD430.00.

In his contribution, the Seycelles’ representative stressed the need to engage UNWTO to take a definite stand on poaching as against its current laid-back attitude. He asked African countries to avoid dialoguing with poachers.

 

South Africa- said SADCC has done a lot of work on poaching and anti-poaching and called for moving forward with the solutions that have been offered, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.

Algeria – called for a closer look at cultural issues when dealing with the issue of poaching.

Nigeria– called for severe sanctions and prompt handling of poaching issues. He said responsibility for poaching issues has shifted from the Federal government to the state level. Local rangers who come from the wildlife- rich areas are used against the poachers e.g.in Bauchi state.

Zimbabwe – Described poaching as organized crime and said the country lost 104 elephants through cyanide poisoning. The state has engaged its legal system to hand over higher sentences to poachers, including jail terms and heavy fines

Ghana – Stressed the need to engage the end- users of poached animals. Ghana said that it was important to ensure there was no market for the poachers.

Zimbabwe – said communities must be engaged to appreciate the need to promote their biodiversity. They must see poaching as a national security threat. It proposed an AU. Africa Conference on poaching.

Gabon – called for engagement with the poachers to curtail the practice.

Angola – advocated the need for regional co – operation to stem poaching since it is a cross – border issue.

D.R.Congo – made reference to the issue of conflict and wars which tend to decimate the wildlife population.

Ghana - reiterated that poaching is killing tourism, and insisted on drying up demand to inhibit poaching

Mozambique – said that the illegal activities of bandits and syndicates must be curtailed.

Namibia – referred to the issue of mandate, and said tourism must work with Ministers responsible for Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources if it is to be successful against poaching.

 

CONCLUSION

Egypt declared its intention to win a seat on the Executive Council in 2015. The Seychelles was closer to host the 7thUNWTO – CAF Meeting from 22nd – 24th April, 201 to coincide with its Carnival events.

 

 

 

 

 

6.0 WORKING SESSION 2: OPPORUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING AND LEVIES, VISA FACILITATIO AND REGULATION

 

The session was moderated by Mr. Christyle, UNWTO Representative o ICAO.

 

6.1 Visa facilitation ad Regulation

It emerged that on the average, two thirds(2/3) of the world’s population need visas prior to departure i.e. physical presence needed for the collection of their visas; 18% do not need visas to travel; 15% given visas on arrival; 3% use e-visa.

Between 2010 and 2013, 44 destinations significantly facilitated visas for citizens of twenty or more countries and the most common facilitation measure was Visa on Arrival.

 

6.1 Visa Facilitation in Africa

Africa’s openness improved from point 11 to 29 whilst world’s openness improved from point 20 to 30. Africa’s visa policy affects 6.2% of the world’s population who wish to visit Africa.

 

6.2 Visa Regimes

 

No Visa Visa on arrival   e- visa visa required

Africa moved from the issue of traditional visas to visas on arrival. Africa has opened up very well to Americas and Europe, but not opened up much to Asia and the Middle East.

Angola’s Minister of Transport called for the recognition of the Transport sector in the area of awareness creation by the Tourism Industry. He said that Angola was making strides in the development of airport and its transport – expansion of airports and also big projects in the rail and maritime sectors.

In expanding aviation facilities, African countries were strongly advised to ensure balance. It was agreed that Tourism and Air Transport cannot be separated. Air Transport is inextricably linked to tourism and economic development. Some countries eg Senegal link tourism and aviation sector as one Ministry. States that have a strong aviation sector are inevitably strong in Tourism and vice versa.

 

Among bottle necks facing the Africa aviation sector are high taxes and expensive aviation fuel, which is twice as much as the world average. One major challenge facing the aviation sector is the non- implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration.

 

To erase the perception that Africa’s aviation sector is not safe (ie unsafe skies) African countries were advised to remove the large number of registered airlines which may not actually be in regular operation as this inadvertently given the perception that the sector is unsafe. Angola was cited as an example.

 

On sharing the risk of opening new air routes, it was agreed that the Tourism sector should team up with the traditional partners (Airlines and Airports) in order to mitigate the risk. The Secretary-General of A.F.R.A.A. said that his organisation will like to partner Airports/Immigration/Tourism Authorities negotiating the opening of new routes.

 

The Meeting agreed that Air Fares in Africa are very high - charges, fees etc. The African average of fees charged is $90 whilst the world average is $20; worldwide, fuel accounts for 35% of operating costs but in Africa, this can go up to almost 50% of operating loss. Several African countries see aviation as being for the wealthy even though it is mass transport.

 

In providing infrastructure for the growth of the African aviation industry, the meeting was reminded that all technical infrastructure issues are handled by the ICAO. On the issue of which airline brings tourist to a destination, whilst it was agreed that an currier could carry them, it was stressed that any serious country which is keen on promoting its tourism should have a viable domestic airline, and a strong, domestic airline industry. Domestic airlines must modernize their equipment on a regular continuous basis to be able to grow.

 

The representative from Zambia referred to Tourism as the “people’s industry” and said Zambia and Zimbabwe had instituted a “Universa” pilot project aimed at visa facilitation to increase tourist visitation to the two countries. It emerged that the entire Southern Africa community (SADCC) had also tried to introduce the “Universa” but progress has been slow due to security concerns, logistics and funding.

 

6.3 Resource Efficiency Management and Governance Role in Boosting the Tourism Sector in Africa

 

The Hon. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare handled this topic. She acknowledged good governance as the cornerstone for any development, including the development of tourism in Africa, while resource efficiency management is a critical factor for achieving the desired goal of boosting tourism on the continent.

 

She indicated that political stability was critical for tourism to thrive and said that political instabilityassociated with social conflicts and unrest, aggravated by negative reports in the international media have stymied the growth of Africa tourism. She called for transparent and accountable governance and application of rule of law by African governments. This would make provision for the efficient management of public resources for the establishment of sustainable economic and social development.

 

On resource efficiency management, she urged African governments to take account of resource supply in the planning of tourism development and vice versa, minimize consumption of energy from non-renewable resources, ensuring efficient use of land and raw materials in tourism development, as well as ensuring sustainability of transport and other vital social infrastructure and services. The Hon. Minister received loud and sustained applause for her presentation.

 

 

 

 

7.0 Open Forum

  • Review of Airport Charges – All Stakeholders must be involved, care must be taken in using airports for revenue generation. Governments must spread the revenue bag so as not to burden one sector.
  • Connectivity and Visa Acquisition – Colonialism played a major role in the problem with the air connectivity in Africa as the Colonialista had their own interest. It is up to African governments to make hard and hand in and to find a solution to the problem. Seychelles gave the example of the “Indian Ocean Island” which have been working among themselves to improve air connectivity between them.
  • Ministries of Transport ad Aviation – Minister of Tourism were urged to pull along their Ministries of Transport and Aviation to join the tourism sector to market their countries at Tourism Travel Shows.
  • Safety Development – African countries should place more emphasis on improving aviation safety as they stand to get more visitors with improved on improved safety
  • Routes Development:- Routes brings all industry players together to discuss routes development (Airport, Airlines, Governments). This year’s Routes Africa event will take place in Zimbabwe and participants were urged to attend.
  • Security Concerns, Protectionism, Outdated Status, Preferential Treatment for National Airlines - international air carriers see all of the above-mentioned issues as barriers to entry, and are put off by them.

They prefer highest yielding routes with low amount of risk.

 

       8.0 Suggested Solutions

  • African countries must recognize the situation they are currently in, and must get started with improving their aviation infrastructure and their visa regimes.
  • Tourism must work with other Ministries (Transport, Aviation) bearing in mind that tourism holds the key to the economic development. Tourism will outlast mineral exploration.
  • Countries must invest in infrastructure in order to be able to cope with future demand.
  • Improved visa facilitation is a sine qua non for success. Countries must see visa facilitation as a business transaction, For instance, should the visa regime be reciprocal bilaterally, or should countries allow visitors in, no matter what the visa relationship is with their home countries.?
  • Countries must forge closer relationship among themselves, and embark on structural initiatives. Cooperation among African countries is non-negotiable.
  • Managements of Tourism and |African airlines must have a change of mindset.
  • Airlines must do frequent audits, according to IATA standards inspection, quality control and standards.
  • Airlines must improve data management, computer software and database of operational management.
  • Airlines must improve their equipment, train human resources on a regular basis, and improve work culture.
  • Transparency in governance will move the Tourism and Aviation Sectors forward.
  • Start up airlines should have access to aircrafts.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Role of Ministries of Tourism and Transport and Aviation in Redevelopment

 

Two major reasons were given for the forging of closer relationships between the two sectors|:

i). An airline flies to a DESTINATION not an AIRPORT.

ii). The growth of Tourism I the development process is driven by

aviation.

The Tourism and Transport/Aviation sectors are therefore to work as a DESTINATION TEAM not as individual sectors. Civil Aviation and Airport Companies must be in all meetings with airlines before major decisions are taken.

 

Redevelopment should not be about attracting new airlines; work with existing airlines. The existing airlines must be made to bring in new destinations, bigger aircraft etc.

 

 

SIGNING OF AGREEMENT TO HOST UNWTO REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON “TOURISM BRANDING AND AFRICA’S IMAGE

 

Ghana was given the responsibility to host the UNWTO Regional Conference on ‘Tourism Branding and Africa’s Image” in Accra b the UNWTO. The conference has been tentatively scheduled for 9th-11th September, 2014. The formal signing of the Agreement between the UNWTO and Ghana was done by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Hon. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, during the conference.

 

The Hon. Minister informed the gathering and the Press that Ghana was privileged to have the opportunity to host such an important international conference whose outcome would have positive effects on tourism on the continent. She emphasized the government of Ghana’s determination to promote her tourism, cultural and creative arts resources for economic and social development.

 

The Hon. Minister then took the opportunity to invite member countries, affiliate members and other participating companies and organizations to participate in the conference which will give UNWTO-CAF member countries the opportunity to showcase their tourist products and services as well as make Africa as a destination more visible on the international tourism map.

 

 

 

 

 

Report on Ghana’s Participation in the World Travel Market (WTM) Maiden Africa Edition, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Ghana participated in the maiden World Travel Market, Africa Edition held in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday, May 2and Saturday, May 3, 2014.

The World Travel Market (WTM) is the leading global event for the travel industry held in London, United Kingdom in November every year. It is a vibrant business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations, industry practitioners and international travel professionals. It provide a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business.

 

The Organizers of the WTM, have mapped out a new strategy to organize the travel fair on a regional basis in order to bring the travel business closer to the destinations. Realizing Africa’s immense natural tourism potentials, the organizers decided to organize the first of the special regional fairs in Africa which was hosted Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Ghana showcased her rich and diverse tourism products including natural, historical and cultural attractions and events for the patronage of South African and other international tourists and investors interested in investing in the tourism sector and in Ghana as a whole.

 

The Hon. Minister met a number of investors and was interviewed by a number of international and the local South African Media including Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV), Euro Sport Live an CN South Africa. She also had interactions with China Business Network, CBN Travel and MICE & World Travel Online, all of whom are planning to establish their presence in Ghana. Hon. Ofosu-Adjare brought to the fore, Ghana’s readiness to welcome investors to do business in Ghana to promote and increase tourist traffic as well as invest in other sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

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