IGAD Sustainable Tourism Master Plan to enhance regional destination competitiveness

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Nairobi, 16 September 2013 -The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will launch its Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (STMP) as an instrumental blueprint to enhance regional integration in Eastern Africa and improve regional destination competitiveness.
The IGAD Tourism Master Plan was developed through the technical support provided by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The launch will be held on 16th of October 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. 
Government officials, academia, bilateral and multilateral agencies as well as civil society and private sector players from seven IGAD member states: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Kenya are expected to attend the launch ceremony.
Among others, the participants will include a high level representation of tourism ministers from the member states, who will be expected to endorse the Master plan so as to pave way for its subsequent implementation.
ECA has established partnership with Kenyan institutions such as the National and Social Economic Council (NESC), the Ministry of East Africa Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, and the Kenya Tourist Board, with a view to bringing on board high level participation and to ensure that the launch is a successful.
“To realize their tourism potential, African countries have to address the various challenges that impede tourism development and adopt appropriate strategies that will enhance their respective destination competitiveness’ remarked Stephen Karingi, ECA Director of Regional Integration and Trade Division, while speaking in consultative forum, organised to review the IGAD Tourism Master plan.
The IGAD STMP initiative is informed by a regional study commissioned by ECA through its Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa in 2010.
“The main objective of this study was to contribute a body of knowledge on the status of tourism development in Eastern Africa with goal of helping policy makers and other stakeholders to frame policies and strategies towards the establishment of a sustainable tourism industry in the sub-region,” said Geoffrey Manyara, ECA Tourism consultant.
The main findings of the ECA tourism study were presented at the 15th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of ECA Eastern Africa, that took place in Djibouti in February 2011 under the theme ‘Towards a Sustainable Tourism Industry in Eastern Africa’.
The Djibouti ICE meetingconcluded that the region faces a number of challenges that continue to impede the region’s tourism growth potential” said Antonio Pedro, the Director of ECA Sub-Regional Office for Eastern African. “A unified approach to tourism development under the umbrella of regional integration was urgently needed,” Pedro added.
The IGAD STMP has been developed through a consultative process involving in-depth interviews with key tourism stakeholders drawn from the IGAD member states, a team of tourism experts and has undergone high level validation. Further to these, two expert consultative fora have been organised. The first was held in June 2012 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and the second in October 2012 in Kampala Uganda.
“This Master Plan is timely and commendable” said Grace Aulo, Uganda’s Tourism Commissioner. “This plan of marketing the IGAD region as a single tourism destination and a common investment area is close to the vision of the development goals of many governments in the region”, added Aulo, while speaking on behalf of Maria Mutagamba, the Ugandan Minister for Tourism.
It is anticipated that the IGAD STMP would go a long way in addressing the challenges facing member states with respect to tourism development and growth.
 
Issued by:
ECA External Communications and Media Relations Section 

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