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Africa - The Fastest Growing Region

News from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Africa - The Fastest Growing Region

Madrid/Algiers, 21 November, 2006/eTN - In 2006, Africa will be for the second consecutive year the fastest-growing region in international tourist arrivals, UNWTO has supported the development of African tourism destinations as a means to contribute to the economic and social development.

"Africa as a whole is at the heart of the UNWTO's concerns", UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said during the opening of the 79th UNWTO Executive Council in Algiers.

The development of African tourism relies not only on well-established destinations. Likewise, growth in emerging markets on the continent's tourism map make an important contribution, led by Algeria along with Botswana, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

Algeria, for example, is now the fourth-ranking destination in Africa as it received nearly 1.5 million foreign visitors in 2005, growing 17% over the preceding year, according to UNWTO figures. As an oil-rich country, Algeria is an example for how tourism "can ensure the distribution of wealth throughout the society, promote the development of poor rural areas and create employment for young people and women who need it", Mr Frangialli added.

UNWTO is committed to contribute to the welfare of the people in Africa and the satisfaction of the travellers visiting the continent. Work in progress and recent initiatives include:

" UNWTO's specific programme for sub-Saharan destinations, now entering its second phase.
" The ST-EP initiative for poverty reduction.

" "Windows on Africa", a strategic alliance with Microsoft, aiming at promoting African destinations through electronic means.

" Taking the opportunity of the 2010 World Football Cup in South Africa, UNWTO has liaised with FIFA to enhance the image of Africa as a whole.

After 1983, the UNWTO Executive Council is meeting for the second time in Algeria.

ENDS

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