UNWTO calls on Africa to find ways of promoting tourism after COVID-19

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NAMIBIA - 2019/12/01: Tourists at Deadvlei, a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor, located in Sossusvlei area, Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Tourists at Deadvlei, a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor, located in Sossusvlei area, Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said Namibia and the southern African region need to find ways of promoting domestic and regional tourism to rescue the industry hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was addressing delegates and ministers of tourism from the African continent attending a summit in Namibia established to find ways of developing the tourism industry.

“It was clear then – just as it is clear now – that Namibia has the potential to be a top tourism destination. What’s more, there is a real determination to use the power of tourism to drive development and create opportunity,” he said.

Pololikashvili said Africa still remains one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations and should find ways of dealing with the rising cases of the pandemic.

“Africa is a place of incredible cultural and natural diversity. And Africa’s cities are alive with youthful energy. However, as we know, Africa’s tourism potential has yet to be fully realized,” he said.

The UNWTO official said there are a number of reasons for Africa failing to meet its potential in tourism, including issues of safety and security for tourists, and the cost and ease of travel between African destinations.

“One key factor is low brand awareness among global tourists. This is why we placed advocating for brand Africa as one of the priorities of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa,” he said.

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