Official visit of UNWTO Secretary-General to the Republic of Congo on the occasion of the first National Conference on Tourism and presentation of the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism
The first National Conference on Tourism in the Republic of Congo was held in Brazzaville, 17- 18 July, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure and with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UNWTO. The Conference brought together national administrations, representatives of the private sector and international institutions with the objective to gain support for the country’s tourism sector.
During the conference H.E. Mrs. Arlette Soudan- Nonault, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, launched the National Tourism Strategy designed with the support of UNWTO and UNDP. With the implementation of this master plan, Congo hopes to raise the share of tourism to GDP from 3% to 10% by 2021. The Tourism Conference marks the second stage in the implementation of the National Tourism Development Strategy.
The forum included panel discussions on several key topics such as The Blue Fund - an opportunity for ecotourism -, difficulties faced by private sector operators, good governance, the integration of civil society as key to the development of sustainable tourism in the Republic of Congo and the integration of Destination Congo in the rebranding of Destination Africa. The country is also calling upon the commitment of stakeholders to mobilize necessary funding for tourism development. It intends to consolidate the ‘Destination Congo Brazzaville’, for the sector to contribute to the diversification of the country's economy.
In addition to his participation at the forum, Mr. Taleb Rifai, held several bilateral meetings with key government officials including with H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo and the Prime Minister H.E. Clément Mouamba. Upon receiving the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism1 from Mr. Rifai, H.E. the President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to position tourism as one of its priority sectors for sustainable development. During his visit, Mr. Rifai together with H.E. Mrs. Arlette Soudan- Nonault unveiled a commemorative plaque in celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
1 UNWTO and WTTC: Joining Efforts to Maximise Travel and Tourism’s Contribution to Economic Growth and Development. The campaign aims to encourage heads of states to position Travel and Tourism higher on their national and global agenda.