Zambia has called on the UNWTO to work towards ensuring tourism is developed as a smart, competitive and responsible sector. Pic: Voyages Afriq

Zambia has called on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to work hard towards ensuring Agenda 2030 on Tourism is developed as a smart, competitive and responsible sector.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Charles Banda said it was imperative that UNWTO Executive Council members and other affiliated Members realised the organisation’s vision aimed at advocating and advancing tourism as a Key Sector for Agenda 2030.

According to Voyages Afriq, the Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 110th Session of the Executive Council when he delivered his communication to the Council members in Baku, Azerbaijan, in his capacity as Chair of the Executive Council.

Hon. Banda pointed out that in the past four decades the world had witnessed the burgeoning expansion and diversification of the tourism industry, unarguably, becoming one of the world's largest industries and a primary economic driver of the recent time.

The Minister added that New exotic destinations were constantly coming up in the African Continent, surpassing the traditional tourist magnets in both North America and Europe.

Hon. Banda said Tourism continued to grow and had proven to be a strong and resilient social-economic activity and a significant contributor to economic development in many countries.

“Currently, tourism has been reported and acknowledged to be a global sector that provides a job for one in nine workers worldwide. In many of our member states, tourism employs a large percentage of our labour force” Hon. Banda said.

And Zambia’s Ambassador to France Dr. Christine Kaseba-SATA commended the UNWTO Secretariat for setting up priorities based on Investing in People for Results Based Management.

Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata said Zambia was mainly interested in the priority which was concerned with Social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

The Ambassador was of the view that due to tourism’s continued exponential growth, it was imperative for people to be cognizant of the need for greater emphasis on sustainability.

“This is essential to ensure long-term economic gains that provide benefits to all socio-economic groups and across other sectors through strong partnership linkages. As Zambia, we view sustainability as a result of a world shared-view which sees the survival, progress, and continued maintenance of human community as dependent on the sustained health and viability of the earth’s life support systems.” Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-SATA said.

The Ambassador also noted the need to develop critical national awareness of the ways in which tourism could improve the quality of life and welfare of the Citizenry which she said could also be translated as “the practice of responsible Tourism”

The 110th Session of the Executive Council is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan at the invitation of the government of Azerbaijan. The Executive Council will deliberate on a number of issues related to the programme of work of the UNWTO and on the sideline, a thematic discussion based on the topic protecting Heritage: Social, cultural and environmental sustainability will be conducted.

The Council will also discuss the programme of the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly to be held in September in St. Petersburg, the Russian Permanent Representative to the UNWTO.