Ghana has been elected to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council after polling 17 votes out of the 20 valid votes cast at the UNWTO Commission for Africa meeting in Mauritius on Thursday. Five other countries were also elected to the Council, but with less votes. Those countries are Nigeria, Rwanda, Namibia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Council members’ election was the highlight of activities at the 66th UNWTO Commission for Africa meeting, on the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism for Africa: Addressing global challenges; Promoting investment and partnerships’.
The new members will be formally approved at the next General Assembly meeting of the UNWTO in Uzbekistan during October this year.
The Executive Council, among other things, takes measures in consultation with the Secretary General to implement decisions that boost tourism across the globe.
In his acceptance speech, Ghana’s Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, was praiseful of his colleague-ministers for the trust reposed in him, and pledged Ghana’s commitment to help put travel and tourism at the summit of the global development agenda.
It will be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently tasked the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to implement innovative strategies to make tourism, arts and culture contribute effectively to national development.
The president also directed the ministry to ensure that international tourist arrivals reach two million by 2025 with a corresponding receipts of US$6billion annually.
Dr. Awal called on African tourism ministers to pursue sustainable tourism practices in order to protect the environment and ensure communities benefit from the tourism dividend.
He also called for investment in tourism infrastructure to build the capacity of operators along the tourism value chain and enhance the continent’s competitiveness.