The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, led the Seychelles delegation to the 61st UNWTO Regional Commission meeting for Africa and ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst For Development’ Seminar.
This was held in Abuja, Nigeria, from June 4 to 6, 2018.
Minister Dogley was accompanied by the Tourism Department’s Principal Secretary, Anne Lafortune, the Director for Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Bernice Senaratne, and Policy Analyst, Francesca De Charmoy Lablache.
During his intervention, Minister Dogley emphasized on the need to measure the effectiveness of the programmes implemented by the UNWTO. He said that in doing so, best practices should be made available, so that member states can adapt what already exists based on their specific circumstances instead of reinventing the wheel.
Minister Dogley also attended a seminar on tourism statistics themed ‘better measure, better manage’ where participants stressed on the need for accurate statistics for evidence-based decision making.
Discussions focused on in-country system of tourism statistics, highlighting challenges and best practices of member countries as well as the need for an expanded statistical framework for measuring sustainable tourism in its economic, social and environmental dimension.
Prior to the seminar, Minister Dogley met with the Secretary-General of the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili. The Seychelles’ endeavor to have its own Tourism Satellite Account, establish the right policies to promote best practices on vertical integration, adopt effective measures to control illegal accommodation establishments advertised on online booking platforms, as well the possibility of hosting a UNWTO meeting in Seychelles next year, on the issue of cruise tourism in small island states, were among pertinent issues discussed.
Eighteen tourism ministers from the region, and tourism experts from 36 countries, convened for the 61st UNWTO Regional Commission meeting for Africa and ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst For Development’ Seminar. They discussed several issues, including the importance of finding innovative approaches to develop tourism in the region and the need to foster new partnerships and resources to further develop the sector.
In his opening remarks, the UNWTO Secretary General, Mr Pololikashvili, highlighted the growing importance of tourism as a key-driver for development in the African region.
“Tourism in Africa has huge untapped potential…The only way this can be developed is if we can manage the sector better- in other words, making policy decisions based upon strong evidence” said Mr. Pololikashvili.
The meeting culminated with the ‘Abuja Call of Action on the Development of Tourism Statistics in Africa’ which will serve as a source of reference for African countries in developing their tourism statistics system. It highlights the need to promote international and regional cooperation efforts in the area of tourism statistics; the need to better measure tourism with high-quality official statistical information covering all dimensions of sustainable tourism, among other guidelines.
The 62nd UNWTO Regional Commission meeting for Africa will be held in Mali, during the second quarter of 2019.