African Nations See Tourism as a Key Factor in Promoting Greater Regional Integration

José Manuel Soria, Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, participated in the Seminar.

José Manuel Soria, Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, participated in the Seminar.

Tourism must play a key role in the process of regional integration in Africa, which is why it is essential to involve all potential stakeholders in tourism management and promotion.  Africa must generate collaborative networks to facilitate the effort of training personnel, first of all, but also in order to help overcome the barriers currently stifling the potential of its tourist industry by improving infrastructures, visa policies and air travel.

This was one of the main conclusions reached by the African Permanent Representatives yesterday (Monday) in New York at the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes during the Seminar on Investment and Tourism in Africa organized by Casa África and the Permanent Delegation of Spain to the United Nations with the aim of demonstrating Spain’s commitment to Africa and offering the African Permanent Representatives the know-how our country has acquired over the past few decades with respect to the tourist industry.

This was the key message expressed during the Seminar’s opening by José Manuel Soria, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, when he hailed the continent’s potential as a tourist destination and assured that Spain could be very helpful both with tourism and with energy and infrastructure development, fields in which Spanish companies are known worldwide for their depth of knowledge and experience.

In addition to Soria and Spain’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Román Oyarzun, Casa África’s Director, Luis Padrón, also intervened in order to present Spain’s model of public diplomacy to participants and explain the role Casa África plays with African nations as well as the Canary Island’s potential as a logistic and humanitarian hub for the African continent.

One of the panels during the Seminar on Investment and Tourism in Africa was dedicated to investment, and the African speakers' conclusions sent the message that not just any sort of investment is valid on the continent, in the sense that, investment should always be aimed primarily at generating growth and employment through technology transfer and allocation of fiscal resources.

African nations also pointed out the need to be integrated into the global supply chain, something that can in fact be furthered through international investment. Investment policies, they concluded, must be developed within the framework of an overall development strategy that promotes structural change in the economy and increased productivity. To this end, it is vital that countries take a responsible and proactive role in developing their policies and controlling their markets.

Among of the participants attending the conference were: Calle Schlettwein, Namibia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry; Jean Kapata, Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Art; Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism, and the Director of the General Secretariat for Relations with Member States, Carlos Vogeler.

Today (Tuesday), also at the Instituto Cervantes' headquarters, Casa África’s General Director, Luis Padrón will address the African Permanent Representatives in order to present Casa África, explain its work and expound potential avenues for future collaboration.



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