This key message was the highlight of the recently concluded first Pan-African conference on Sustainable Tourism in African National Parks, organized by UNWTO and the Government of Tanzania.
“Nature is one of Africa’s greatest assets,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai commented. “Many of the 50 million international tourists visiting Africa each year are driven by the continent’s unparalleled wildlife and natural scenery. These tourists spend in the local economy, sustain jobs and provide an incentive for conservation, making tourism a powerful engine for sustainable development.”
The importance of sustainable tourism development for national parks and the people living in and around them was echoed in the Arusha Declaration, adopted by attending tourism ministers, tourism private sector representatives and conservation officials.