Tourism minister Charles Banda said it was imperative that the 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.
Banda 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.
He said the world had in the past four decades 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.
Banda said the new exotic destinations were constantly coming up in the African Continent, surpassing the traditional tourist magnets in both North America and Europe.
He 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,” 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.
She is 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,” said Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata.
The 110th Session of the Executive Council is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan at the invitation of the government of Azerbaijan.