The UNWTO Executive Council meeting in Algiers for its 79th session, with the attendance of 38 Ministerial Delegations from around the
world, welcomed the estimated 4.6% growth of international arrivals in 2006. This market strength is forecast to continue through 2007, at
around 4% - the fourth year of sustained growth in international tourism and in line with UNWTO's long-term vision.
UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, particularly underscored Africa's strong 2006 forecast, where tourism arrivals are
expected to increase by 10.6% through this year. Frangialli said, “This African tourism success story is particularly important for the fight
against poverty and the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, where this sector can play a pivotal role for every State on
the continent. Africa's rich supply of natural assets and unique cultures provides the whole continent with a special opportunity to grow
and prosper in the coming years. UNWTO has initiated a range of activities to advance Tourism to and within Africa as an export, a
socioeconomic driver and an instrument of development.”
Sub-Saharan Africa with a forecast 2006 increase of 12.6% is a key driver of the success. North Africa is also expected to grow well above
the world average (+5.9%) reflecting the steady growth of tourism facilities, infrastructure and quality services, with significant increases
in arrivals and revenues. Algeria is an excellent example of this buoyancy, growing at 11% during the past five years - exceeding by far
both the regional results and the continent as a whole.
The Executive Council, will
be reviewing the state of the tourism industry against the evolving global geopolitical and social dynamics, with an
emphasis on tourism's role as a key element of trade and development and in the context of the organization's role as the specialized
agency of the UN family dealing with this important service sector.
It will consider the major challenges to sustain growth, to manage its impacts sustainably and to spread its benefits equitably to the
world's poorest countries. It will look at tourism in trade negotiations, climate change and cultural understanding.
It will specifically consider the actions initiated by UNWTO to support countries at a regional and national level to respond to natural and
man made crises: to enhance security while reducing hassle for travellers, to lower barriers to the free flow of tourism services, to adapt to
new internet based technologies and to promote public private partnerships.
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