Look out for the ‘Seychelles Declaration’ between UNWTO and the AU


(Posted 16th March 2014)

Meetings in the Seychelles once again proved very conducive to come up with future looking agreements, as previously seen when African Union or UNWTO meetings took place on the archipelago.

Today it was learned that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between the AU and UNWTO towards creating an ‘African Tourism Brand’ as part of the AU’s agenda 2063, which is now laying down the challenges and opportunities for the next 50 years of the pan African body.

It was none other than the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, who took the idea to the delegates which comprised fellow tourism ministers from across Africa as well as heads of delegations, who came together as a core group of the AU to focus on tourism as a cornerstone of African economies in coming years and decades.

The MoU proposal was tabled by Alain St. Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture who said that the grouping of African Member States into an ‘Africa Brand of Tourism’ should work with and alongside the UNWTO. Minister St. Ange said after the adoption of the Seychelles Final Communiqué that he was hoping the the ‘Africa Brand of Tourism‘ would enhance the cooperation between UNWTO and Africa, and that the ‘Africa Brand of Tourism‘ could also become a UNWTO Affiliate Member.

Africa already has a working partnership with the UNWTO through the UNWTO CAF grouping and this grouping will next be meeting in Angola at the end of April.

Elsia Grandcourt, the Director for Africa at the UNWTO supported the call approved by the AU Ministerial Working Group meeting in Seychelles. Elsia Grandcourt who was herself personally present at the Seychelles meeting said that she is if following up with Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy and remained hopeful that an MoU could be signed during the working visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa by Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the UNWTO this year.

Elsia Grandcourt said that this partnership agreement would mark a new milestone for Africa Tourism and could serve as the umbrella for the potential joint cooperation between the UNWTO and its Africa Member States.

Later this year will UNWTO and ICAO stage a global meeting on the Seychelles, bringing together ministers of tourism and transport to discuss the future and more intensified cooperation of two key economic sectors. Seychelles, truly Another World.

(Picture courtesy of Seychelles Ministry of Tourism showing from the left to right the Seychelles’ Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam, his colleague Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St. Ange and Dr. Elham M. A. Ibrahim at the opening ceremony of the AU Ministerial Working Group meeting in Seychelles)

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