A new charter has paved the way for the promotion of "responsible, sustainable and accessible tourism," across Africa launched last week by the United Nations World Trade Organisation.

African Ministers of Tourism and heads of delegation along with UNWTO officials met in Marrakech as part of the 22nd Session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties.

It adopted the first African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism and sign the Declaration on ‘Tourism and Climate Issues in Africa’.

"Both documents pave the way for the implementation of sustainability and responsibility principles in the tourism sector across the continent," said a statement bu UNWTO.

UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

It said: "The African continent has now a common reference framework to promote sustainability and responsibility in the tourism sector. The African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, signed during the Ministerial Forum on Tourism and Climate in Africa aims at becoming an instrumental tool for the continent to engage in sustainable tourism best practices by reconciling social and economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the respect for the cultural diversity of each country."

During the opening, HEM. Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Tourism of Morocco, said: "The charter which is signed today is a commitment for the future in order to promote sustainable tourism for the benefit of Africa while showing respect to biodiversity and the heritage of each African country."

UNWTO was represented by its Márcio Favilla, Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations, who highlighted that the signature of this significant document.

He said: “[It] is the result of the vision that African countries have for the future of their tourism sector: one that respects the environment, local communities, promotes gender equality, creates jobs for the youth and is a key driver for sustainable and economic growth.”

In addition he recalled that “the Charter constitutes also an open working platform for countries which provides global orientations to preserve, respect and benefit African destinations and African people".

It was signed by these countries:
Morocco, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo-Verde, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Chad.

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