The regional director for Africa of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) today defended that Cape Verde should look for new models of tourism development that allow greater gains for the populations.
"The focus of the tourism industry is on people. Each model and approach has to ensure effects for the community and that people really benefit. Cape Verde took an 'all inclusive' approach, experienced it, but the industry has evolved and obviously has to look at other models, "said Elcia Grandcourt.
The director of the Regional Program for Africa of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) spoke to journalists in the city of Praia at the end of a meeting with Cape Verde's Minister of Tourism and Transport, José Gonçalves.
Elcia Grandcourt, who is accompanied by Boubacar Djibo, Director of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Transport, today launched a two-day mission to Cape Verde to assess the possible holding of a ministerial conference on tourism and aviation in Cape Verde. African region scheduled for April 2019 on the island of Sal.
The tourism sector represents more than 20% of Cape Verde's GDP and its development is anchored in the "all-inclusive resorts" model, mainly concentrated in the islands of Sal and Boavista.
Official statistics released recently reveal that the more than 500,000 tourists who visited Cape Verde in 2016 spent less than a quarter of their vacation budget in the country, a figure that has been declining since 2014.
According to the Survey on Tourist Expenses and Satisfaction, in 2016, Cape Verde was visited by 507,605 tourists, mostly integrated in "all-inclusive" packages (81.5%), with 82.8% of travel expenses being made country of origin.
Tourism spending in Cape Verde accounted for only 17.2% of total holiday spending, with 17.9% in 2015 and 25.2% in 2014.
Overall, tourist spending fell from almost 200 million euros in 2014 to around 120 million euros in 2016.
Elcia Grandcourt stressed the importance of diversifying tourism, adding that this is also the vision of the country's authorities.
"We experimented with a model, we have to look at other models. There are many good practices being implemented with countries similar to Cape Verde. We have several island countries that are leading in this sector. Diversification is increasingly important to respond to the various market niches, "he said.
Elcia Grandcourt also stressed the growing importance of the tourism sector for many economies in the African continent, adding that countries "are also beginning to realize the economic value of the sector."
"Travel and tourism are increasingly important for various economies. The socio-economic contribution of the sector is very valuable. Cape Verde is a country that depends heavily on tourism, "he said, justifying the country's choice to hold the conference.
The head of UNWTO also noted the major challenges facing tourism in Africa, ranging from the facilitation of visas to air routes, through infrastructure and security.
Minister of Tourism and Transport José Gonçalves explained that the holding of the conference in Cape Verde follows the launch by the African heads of state of the project of a single air transport market for Africa.
"This is the first time that UNWTO and ICAO are holding this meeting in an African country. It is another step in [single market] consolidation and enlargement. We have 26 official member countries, but there are 54 countries in Africa. It will be a decisive step on the road to the creation of this single market, "said José Gonçalves.
The mission of the WTO and ICAO today will hold several meetings with entities related to the tourism sector, traveling Thursday to the island of Sal to evaluate the logistics conditions for the holding of said conference.
Source: Noticias do Norte
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