(Africa Research Bulletin) - UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, has early paid an official visit to Sudan
, expressed the organisation's commitment to support Sudan's tourism development.
His visit coincided with a three-day regional executive training on crisis communication in tourism, organised by WTO in Khartoum, Sudan.
The statement said Rifai met with President Omar Al-Bashir, to present the “Open Letter on Travel and Tourism,” a campaign promoted jointly by WTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to raise awareness of the value of tourism to sustainable development.
The WTO chief reiterated the potential of the tourism sector in creating new opportunities for the people of Sudan.
He emphasised the need to build and have the right infrastructure in place and the ability to communicate effective and positive messages to the world about Sudan.
“Perception issues and the generalisation of the impact of crises in specific locations to the whole region are some of the main obstacles facing tourism development in Africa,” he noted.
To address this, Rifai said WTO and the WTO Themis Foundation held a three-day training on crisis communication in Sudan.
The WTO chief stated: “Crisis communication preparedness is key to building resilience in Africa as it allows destinations to minimise the impact of crisis situations on the tourism sector and on its socio-economic benefits.”
On his part, Al-Bashir expressed Sudan's appreciation for the support of WTO by presenting Rifai with the Order of the Two Niles Grand Cross.
The visit also included meetings with Sudanese tourism officials and operators, as well as media representatives to address the issues of perception in Africa and a tour to Port Sudan and to the recently nominated World Heritage site of the Sanganeb Island. (PANA, New York 18/11)