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That was the overall message at the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.
The ministerial dialogue during the conference addressed the significance of collecting and compiling quantitative and qualitative data, as well as the importance of commitments from national stakeholders and institutional partnerships for a rigorous tourism statistics system.
“The priorities of my mandate include the crucial targets of creating more and better tourism jobs, improving tourism education and fostering innovation”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.
Tourism provides 1 out of 14 jobs in Africa
Pololikashvili explained that currently, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development estimates that tourism provides around 8.5% of Africa’s GDP, 46% of its exports and 1 out of 14 of its jobs.
He said that although African heads of state and key business figures are recognising tourism for what it is, in many cases, we are still missing the statistics that tell us exactly how tourism has helped destinations and communities.
Said Pololikashvili: “Tourism in Africa has huge untapped potential. The only way this can be developed is if we can manage the sector better – in other words, making policy decisions based on strong evidence. For this, our statistics need to be harmonised, of high quality, and covering all dimensions of sustainable development.”