|We also take this opportunity to officially congratulate Dr. Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary General of the UNWTO for a job well done. His two consecutive terms of office clearly display his successes through his personal drive that was aimed at uniting the world of tourism. We also wish Dr Rifai and Mrs Nisrine Rifai and their family good health and continued happiness.
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The challenges for the tourism industry will not be getting any easier. The need to regroup to deliver a consolidated tourism industry is today more important than ever. This is why we are reporting today on the Cleverdis Group with their Hotel & Tourism Magazine. Gerard Lefebvre, the President & CEO of the group was also in Chengdu and we had the opportunity to discuss tourism trade fairs and trends coupled with existing opportunities. They are the producers of most of the official publications for the important tourism trade fairs and their opinion matters.
BRAND AFRICA was also a topic discussed on the sidelines of the UNWTO General Assembly. Many of the Tourism Ministers or Country Representatives discussed the drive by PMAESA, the (Ports Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa) and their “Cruise Africa” drive. From North to South, from East to West, African States who feel they have facilities and the potential to receive Cruise Ships or to develop cruising in rivers, waterways and lakes are today ready to move together as one. I was personally able, as a Consultant contracted by PMAESA to open discussions with Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, DRC, Morocco, Algeria and Cote D’Ivoire to name but a few. All are welcoming the work being done to give a needed push to Cruising in Africa, and this inclusive of the registration of the “Cruise Africa” name that has already been effected. But as Africa looks at it narrative, it is important that Tourism for All is echoed with respect as the principle guiding Africa. President Nelson Mandela of South Africa coined the Rainbow Nation tagline for South Africa showing how proud he was of the diversity that makes South Africa strong. May this vision that goes beyond colour of the skin, of religion, of political affiliation, of gender and of disabilities among others, remain the mission of Africa and its Brand Africa.