Leeuwarden, The Netherlands (eTN) – At the ongoing International Institute for Peace through Tourism European Conference, currently being held at the Stendan University, two countries have made clear that they came with one purpose: to gather information about sustainable tourism development.
Timor Leste, located next to Indonesia, sent its tourism minister. Minister Gil da Costa Alves said: “Timor Leste is developing its tourism now to create a viable alternative source of income in the future, when the country’s deposits of oil and gas are exhausted. In view of this, we have placed strong emphasis on ensuring the sustainability of our tourism industry as a key value in our policy.”
The same sentiment was echoed by Nambia Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo-Nandi-Ndaitwah at a ministerial roundtable session on Wednesday, October 22. “We are here with a clear focus on gathering information,” she said. “What we have seen so far, in terms of information, has been very impressive and helpful.”
She added that Namibia facing great challenges because of current geopolitical policies that are currently in place both within Namibia as well as its surrounding countries. Namibia is in southern Africa on the Atlantic coast.
The Namibian minister delivered a keynote address at the conference’s first plenary hall session. In her speech, she not only talked about her country’s vision for the future, but also greatly emphasized the role of women.
For his part, Timor Leste Minister da Costa Alves said: “Tourism is a key part of our vision for the country’s future. We are just at the beginning of our development but we know that with determination and hard work we can harness the power of tourism to improve the lives of our people. After all, tourism is a great enabler, on village level, national level and regional level and it is on all of these fronts that we must fight poverty for the sake of future generations.”
Both ministers emphasized the importance of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in serving as the guideline for governments in spearheading tourism as an integral part in achieving such goals. “Tourism can and will play a key role in achieving those goals because its influence extends far beyond the confines of the sector itself,” said Minister da Costa Alves.
The first IIPT congress to be held in Europe, the event has attracted tourism ministers from various parts of the world, mostly from Africa and the Caribbean. Also making presentations with a wide range of topics are various educators and tourism industry experts.
The four-day event commenced Tuesday, October 21, and is scheduled end on Friday, October 24.