Kenya’s Minister for Tourism, Najib Balala; the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Alain St.Ange; and Tanzania’s Minister for Tourism&Natural Resources, Ezekiel Maige; met on the sidelines of the 19th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Gyeongju in the Republic of Korea and said that it was important for the General Assembly of the UNWTO to recognize the importance of tourism in the socio-economic sector of their three countries and its contribution towards their GDPs, foreign exchange earnings, employment, and poverty alleviation.
The heads of delegation from Kenya, the Seychelles, and Tanzania at the 19th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly said that it was important to note that the political instability in Somalia has resulted into prevalence of piracy along the Eastern Coast of the Indian Ocean, which has, over time, inhibited growth of cruise tourism. The heads of delegations from the three African countries said that cruise tourism is one of the niche tourism market segments with huge potential for contributing to the region’s economic growth while ensuring environmental sustainability. Piracy, they said, also affects other maritime activities including transportation of goods along the Indian Ocean waters and increases the costs of insurance significantly.
Kenya’s Minister Balala, Seychelles’ Alain St.Ange, and Tanzania’s Maige said that the recent kidnapping of tourists in Kismayu and Lamu areas in Kenya by armed militia from Somalia directly affects tourism by undermining tourists safety and security in the Horn of Africa and the Eastern Africa region. “The situation in Somalia,” they said, “is not only worrying, but also greatly endangers peace, security, and stability.” They went on to say that they acknowledge that their respective governments have put in place adequate measures to ensure security of tourists but that it remains important for the Community of Nations to recognize that a lasting solution to the region’s security problem related to the political instability in Somalia and that this required concerted efforts and intervention by the International Community.
In presenting their signed declaration to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, Kenya’s Minister Balala, Seychelles’ Tourism Chief Executive Alain St.Ange, and Tanzania’s Minister Maige said that through the UNWTO General Assembly they are calling on the United Nations to intervene to ensure that this worrying situation is resolved once and for all.