Kenya has been elected to the highest decision making body of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council.
The country will now sit at the helm of the UN affiliate body that coordinates tourism issues and programs worldwide for a period of two years until the end of 2017.
Kenya’s nomination was confirmed at the ongoing 21st UNWTO General Assembly in the Columbia city of Medellin.
The UN body from time to time lends its support to countries facing challenges related to tourism matters. Kenya has been a major beneficiary of UNWTO support as its secretary General, also a former Tourism Minister of Jordan, Dr Taleb Rifae visited Kenya twice this year to offer support as the sector suffered due to insecurity. UNWTO has also assisted in the development of a crisis management handbook, which will be shared among the players across the globe.
After the elections East Africa, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie, said that Kenya is privileged to be accorded the opportunity to represent East Africa and the African continent at the council.
“It is a big honor, East African Community (EAC) is one of the fastest growing regional economic blocks in the world. It is also endowed with some of the most remarkable touristic attraction to be found anywhere in the globe” Said Hon Kandie.
Already the region has launched a single tourism visa and at the recent UNWTO meeting in Mombasa, EAC is working on a joint marketing board to package the region as a single destination.
Hon Kandie also supported the proposal for setting up the Official Development Assistance (ODA) program to aid member states develop their tourism sector leading to wealth and job creation.
“Globally tourism sector has become a foundation for economic growth, source for foreign exchange, job and wealth creation as well as medium for human interaction” she added.
Among the agenda for discussion include the UNWTO Forum on Talent, Development Tourism, Investing in Youth, Tourism and Sustainability, Tourism and Air Transport Development, Tourism and Competitiveness.
CS Kandie who is accompanied by Kenya’s ambassador to Spain Ambassador Bramwel Kisuya, Kenya Tourism Board MD Muriithi Ndegwa, Utalii College Principal Dr Kenneth Ombogi and Tourism Secretary Dr Anne Kinyua will also participate in several panel discussion.
She invited the delegates at the Assembly for the upcoming Africa Travel Association congress from the 9th to 14th November, which will be held later in the year in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Executive council comprises of 31 members. It is the governing body of the UNWTO that brings together 154 countries into single global tourism organizations and sets the agenda for the global tourism sector.