African Ministers of Tourism have agreed to engage the African Union for a strategic sector development which will addressed some underpinning issues affecting the sector.
Some salient issues were raised by the African Tourism Ministers which are critical to the growth and development of the sector in the continent.
Nigeria’s Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed disclosed this on Friday after a high powered meeting of the continent’s Tourism ministers at the on-going 64th Conference of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) – Conference for Africa, and second edition of UNWTO Global Tourism Investment Forum in Sal Island Cape Verde.
Some of the issues on the agenda bothers on equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines, Flight connectivity within the continent as well as issuance of travel advisories by the developed world.
Mohammed stated that the conference agreed to set up a high level committee to present the positon of the ministers to the AU for further action.
He said the Ministers have agreed to set up a committee that will engage with strategic stakeholders to help put such matters in the front burner in a bid to achieve tangible and quick results.
He said that the committee would be led by Mr Siandou Pofana, the Ivorian Minister of Tourism and Leisure who emerged as the UNWTO-CAF President at the Cape Verde meeting and the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Mr Zurab Pololikasvili.
“It has now become the position of CAF of UNWTO that vaccines nationalism is hampering African tourism and as such those who are in possession of these vaccines should look more into equitable distribution,” he said.
The issue of vaccines diplomacy was also addressed and it was the consensus of the African ministers that it is another form of apartheid.
This is because, it is discriminatory if you don’t give us enough vaccines in Africa and you said we cannot enter Europe, whereas you open the gate to others.
Mohammed said African countries have been denied access to COVID-19 vaccines which are aimed at achieving WHO’s prescribed 70 per cent health immunity for their populations.
“Nigeria where less than five million people have so far been vaccinated from a population of over 120 million is unacceptable. “
The minister said it was unfair for a country to have excess vaccines and yet refuse to “make them available for those who do not have.
Despite the low number of infected people,Africa countries have been put on the red list.
“Nigeria, for instance, has been put on the amber list by the UK which is quite vexing in the sense that the first two million doses of vaccine that was administered in the country was developed in the UK,” he stated.
The implication of this is that even after I have taken the two doses of the vaccine, if I want to travel to the UK today, I will have to undergo 10-days mandatory isolation.
“But if the Dutch and the French who have taken the same two doses want to travel to the UK, they will not undergo any isolation,” he said.
African Tourism Ministers have resolved to use the period after the Covid-19 pandemic to develop the tourism sector in the continent better so as to bring peace, economic prosperity and deepen the continents various cultures.
Source: Voice of Nigeria