MADRID, Spain (eTN) – As the 30th edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair [FITUR 2010] formally got underway last week here in the capital city of Madrid , a Nigerian has gotten the nod to head a newly formed continental body. FITUR is an annual exhibition platform, which is dedicated to the development and promotion of global tourism destinations, services and products.
The newly formed continental tourism body is known as the African Tourism Promotion Initiative. The body, which emerged yesterday following a meeting held at the Nigeria stand by some of the African countries delegates at the expo named the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], Segun Runsewe as the President.
The gathering by African representatives, which was described as very timely came on the heels of the INVESTOUR Forum billed to hold this morning at Feria de Madrid, venue of the global tourism meet ending on Sunday January 24.
INVESTOUR, which is debuting for the first time this year, is an initiated of the Spanish outboard tourism authorities, the World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] and Casa Africa.
The forum is informed by the increasing interest on African destinations by Spanish investors and tourists and is expected to afford African destinations the opportunity to present their various destinations and business opportunities to the investors. For today’s forum, the focus is on the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) with Nigeria expected to take the lead.
It is against this background that delegates from the African region that were at yesterday meeting that was convened by the Director General of NTDC, Runsewe saw the need to form a common ground on presenting Africa related issues decided to entrust both the leadership and the secretariat of the new body to Nigeria.
Arising from the meeting, the new tourism body is committed:
*To form a synergy with the sole aim and objective of marketing and promoting tourism;
*To build and develop contacts and relationships among the various destinations in the continent;
*To carry out joint promotion and marketing of tourism products and services of member nations; and
*To support each members at exhibitions platforms across the globe.
The new body also resolved that it would henceforth engage in the understudy of member nations’ destinations with the aim of helping to grow, develop and promote the continent as one destination.
The need to jumpstart the process of having a formidable voice in the global tourism through the new body was emphasised with members pledging to do everything possible to ensure the success of the new initiative.
To give more bit to the new organisation a former meeting is expected to be held at a later date soon after the close of FITUR with invitation extended to countries absent at FITUR.
Also to jumpstart this, Zimbabwe formally announced the hosting of Miss Zimbabwe beauty pageant by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] with formal invitation extended to all the members and countries of Africa by the Chief Executive of ZTA, Mr. Karikoa Kaseke who is also the Vice President of the new body.
The Gambia Tourism also announced the hosting of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) Congress by May with formal invitation to all the members while countries such as Burkina Faso announced the hosting of a tourism expo later in the year with all the members invited to exhibit ex-gratis.
It was also agreed at the forum that English and French languages would be the official languages for the conduct of business. The Secretary of the body is Stella Christiane Drabo from Burkina Faso while Mr. Ida Jang Njie from Gambia tourism is the Public Relations Officer.
Some of the countries and delegates present at the meeting included, Rigobert Boute from Benin Republic , Ngouane Charles, Director, Cameroun Embassy, Madrid , Ismail Ouattara , Mali tourism and Guadenew Luis Costa, Director of Tourism Sao Tome and Principe .