KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Tuesday called
on African economies to provide favorable environment that would
boost the growth of tourism industry on the continent.
He was speaking at
the official opening of the 41st Annual World Tourism
Conference that kicked off on Monday in Rwanda’s capital city
Kigali with a focus on promoting tourism as an engine for
economic growth and job creation across Africa.
Rwanda hosts the
meeting from Aug. 28 to 31, under the auspices of the Africa
Travel Association (ATA), a division of the Corporate Council on
Africa (CCA) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). It is the
first time that ATA’s Tourism Conference is hosted in the
central African country.
“Harnessing the full
potential of tourism industry in Africa will require continued
focus and investment on several fronts that fuel the engine of
conservation and tourism growth. Strengthening good governance
enables us to manage the environment that supports tourist
attractions and generation of revenues,” said Kagame.
Rwanda, like other
countries on the continent, is keen to convert the favorable
demographics into economic growth and prosperity, said the
“We want to
strengthen collaboration within our region and across the
continent in order to advance tourism in Africa. The single
tourist visa and passport-free travel with Kenya, Rwanda and
Uganda is already a reality. We need more cooperation on the
continent to increase the numbers of visitors and facilitate
trade and investment within Africa,” he said.
The meeting has
brought together African tourism ministers, industry
professionals representing tourism boards, destination
representatives, travel agents, tour operators, ground
operators, airlines, hotels and accommodations, service
providers, and travel media to set the stage for how tourism can
be utilized as an engine for economic growth across Africa,
according to organizers.
CCA president and chief executive officer, said that CCA and ATA
are determined to continue partnership for sustainable tourism
on the continent through broadening the scope of public- private
partnerships for tourism across multiple industries.
conference will primarily dwell on innovative business models,
new technologies and strategic partnerships. The event will also
provide a platform to network and explore new tourism markets
and products including the promotion and preservation of
Africa’s rich cultural heritage and wildlife.
The conference will
highlight opportunities in the tourism sector and intersecting
sectors such as infrastructure, ICT, health, real estate
development, and finance, she said.
According to the
World Tourism Organization, Africa received a total of 65.3
million international tourists in 2014 and earned 43.6 billion
U.S. dollars of revenue, compared to 17.4 million tourists in
Annual World Tourism Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya in