Elcia Grandcourt is Director for the Africa Program at UNWTO
As Africa marks the celebration of Africa Day, The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has been emphasizing the role of tourism in shaping the future of the continent.

In her Africa Day message, the Director of Africa program at the UNWTO, Elcia Grandcourt, underlined tourism’s role as a key driver towards inclusive development and Africa’s forward march. 

Speaking from the organization’s headquarters in Madrid, Ms Grandcourt said: “ The dynamic spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that is driving the sector forward means that tourism will play a key role in the inclusive development of Africa in the years ahead.’’

She added that, ‘’Africa is a continent that is embracing and proactively mainstreaming sustainable tourism in their national development agendas. Since the year 2000, the number of international tourists visiting destinations across Africa has tripled. This positive trend looks set to continue between now and 2030.’’

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Despite its many challenges as Africa works to become a leading tourist destination, the tourism sector has proven its resilience time and again Ms Grandcourt stressed.

The UN Tourism Agency has been working with its African member states to use tourism a driver of jobs, development, equality and wildlife conservation. 

The UNWTO and its African member states are currently working towards realization of this ten points agenda under the Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili: 
  • Advocating Brand Africa 
  • Promoting Travel Facilitation (Connectivity/Visa)
  • Strengthening Tourism Statistics SDGs 8, 15, 17
  • Expanding Capacity Building including Training Facilities 
  • Promoting Innovation and Technology 
  • Fostering Resilience (Safety and Security, Crisis Communication) 
  • Unlocking Growth through investment Promotion by Public Private Partnerships 
  • Empowering Youth and Women through Tourism SDGs 
  • Advancing the Sustainability Agenda (esp. Biodiversity) 
  • Promoting Cultural Heritage