Annual Commission for Africa (CAF) Ministerial Meeting 2014 in Angola

At the end of April I accepted a kind invitation from the UNWTO to go to Angola to give a short presentation to the delegates of the Annual Commission for Africa (CAF) Ministerial Meeting 2014. This meeting, to outline the progress the UNWTO are making on behalf of the African continent, attracted 14 Ministers of Tourism and a wider audience, including many Directors of Tourism, from 31 African countries.  For the first time this meeting provided a forum to discuss Air Connectivity and brought in the private sector, through the UNWTO’s Affiliate Membership programme, to present to the Government.  One of the ambitions of the meeting this year was to underline the UNWTO’s work with the private sector and how their role as facilitator is driving better public private partnerships.

Bench Events role through the presentation was to outline the progress we’d made together using the Africa Hotel Investment Forum as a platform to address issues such as air connectivity, visa facilitation and to outline some of the wider barriers to entry into markets such as land ownership and infrastructure investment.  Each of the Ministers who attended received a letter presented from both the UNWTO and Bench Events inviting them to attend the Africa Hotel Investment Forum later in the year and requesting they participate in our closed-door session we will be hosting for the second year.  

This open dialogue, thanks to the support of the UNWTO, is becoming more frequent and it is apparent that the African Government sees great value in supporting the industry and making themselves more competitive and attractive to investment.  It was also satisfying to hear the UNWTO’s “zero tolerance” stance on poaching across Africa and for the Minister’s to call on the organisation to organize a specific Africa congress on poaching.  

You will find my full speech here.