World Tourism Organization and Banesto Foundation collaborate on sustainable tourism projects for poverty elimination in Africa

PR No.: PR11029

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, and the President of the Banesto Foundation, Antonio Basagoiti, today presented the cooperation agreement signed by the two organizations, at UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Banesto Foundation have presented a cooperation agreement aimed at identifying, providing technical support to and financing tourism business projects in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania. Although activities will be carried out initially in these three countries, the agreement may be extended to others in Africa and to Latin America in the future.

The agreement, presented by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and Banesto Foundation President Antonio Basagoiti, sets the basis for the identification, evaluation, and technical and financial support of projects undertaken preferably by women, associations or cooperatives— with special emphasis on the leadership role of women — and communities in the tourism sector. Project selection will be carried out jointly taking into consideration, among other aspects, economic viability, potential impact on the local economy, the promotion and employment of women, solidarity aspects and environmental sustainability.

The allocation of funds as well as guidance and technical assistance, is to be carried out through UNWTO collaborating organizations in the beneficiary countries. Funding will be provided in the form of subsidies or micro credits with the support of local organizations.

Resources will come from the Banesto Foundation or from third-party contributions, as a result of agreements with collaborating organizations, from fund raising activities, or from individual contributions made online through the Banesto Foundation’s web initiative, “Sustainable and Responsible Tourism”. All projects will become part of the sustainable and responsible tourism network promoted by the Banesto Foundation in Africa and Latin America.

At the presentation held today, Taleb Rifai and Antonio Basagoiti both highlighted tourism's potential as an engine for the economic and social development of least developed countries and underlined the importance of access to financing and technical assistance for small enterprises in the tourism sector, as well as the special significance and importance of women in tourism, a growing sector in Africa and Latin America.

Note for editors:

Banesto Foundation’s Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Initiative

Born under the auspices of the 1st Spain-Africa Meeting of ‘Women for a Better World’, held in Maputo, Mozambique, in March 2006, ‘Sustainable and Responsible Tourism’ is an initiative promoted by the Banesto Foundation aimed at contributing to the development of the African continent by supporting women entrepreneurs and their local communities through tourism.

The initiative provides training and technical assistance for women entrepreneurs and supports the promotion and marketing of new tourism destinations, the progressive introduction of technologies and the financing of business projects, preferably undertaken by women, which can generate wealth and sustainable employment in the region.

The ‘Sustainable and Responsible Tourism’ network currently includes more than 360 accommodation establishments and 25 tourism routes in 14 African countries: Cape Verde, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and Tanzania. The initiative has recently been extended to include an initial group of Latin American countries.

Full information is available online at:


UNWTO Principal Media Officer: Marcelo Risi
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

Banesto Foundation:

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