The Latest UNWTO News Updates

United Nations World Tourism Organization News Updates

Strong tourism results in the first part of 2017

International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 6% in January-April of 2017 compared to the same period last year, with business confidence reaching its highest levels in a decade. Sustained growth in most major destinations and a steady rebound in others drove results. Prospects for May-August 2017 remain high.

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Bulgaria Meeting advances the Western Silk Road as a transnational initiative

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria hosted the 2nd International UNWTO Western Silk Road Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 27-28 June 2017. The workshop was attended by 22 countries and consolidated the results of the first workshop held in Greece in April 2017.

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UNWTO appoints the President of Malta as Special Ambassador of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta, has been nominated as Special Ambassador of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The appointment took place at a ceremony held at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Headquarters in Madrid.

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UNWTO Manila Conference sets roadmap to measure Sustainable Tourism

Nearly 1.000 experts from over 80 countries convened for three days (21-23 June) in Manila, The Philippines at the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics to lay the groundwork for an expanded statistical framework to measure sustainable tourism in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. The outcome ‘Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism’ represents a global commitment to sustainable tourism and the need to measure it through a consistent statistical approach recognizing that effective sustainable tourism policies require an integrated, coherent and robust information base.

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Tourism and future energy: committed to curb emissions

Under the title ‘Tourism and Future Energy: Unlocking low-carbon growth opportunities’, industry leaders and policy makers have convened in the Kazakh capital city of Astana to discuss the contribution of the tourism sector to reducing carbon emissions. The Conference is a joint initiative of Astana EXPO 2017 and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan.

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ST-EP Project Promotes Ecotourism in Northern Cambodia

UNWTO has completed a ST-EP project on community-based ecotourism in Preah Rumkel and Borey Osvay, two villages in northern Cambodia along the Mekong River. The project was launched in May 2016 with the support of the Spanish foundation Europamundo and was implemented by the Cambodian NGO Mlup Baitong.

The project aims to empower community members and improve their living standard through community-based ecotourism and environmental conservation. To achieve these, five outcomes were established:

  • Improving management systems for community-based ecotourism (CBET) in Preah Rumkel and Borey
  • Improving the capacities of the Community-based Ecotourism Management Committee and tourism service providers of both sites
  • Improving the mechanisms for the protection of natural resources, especially the forest and the river dolphin
  • Advertisement/marketing mechanisms
  • Tourism facilities at both CBET sites are renovated

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UNWTO-WTCF Workshop “City Tourism Performance Research” (2 September 2017, Tianjing, China)
UNWTO Regional Course on “Strategies of Sustainable Tourism for Local Development” (4-8 September 2017, Guadalajara, Mexico)
22nd Session of the UNWTO General Assembly (11-16 September 2017, Chengdu, China)
UNWTO/GWU University ONLINE Course on “Tourism as a Path to International Cooperation & Sustainable Development” – Application deadline 21 August 2017 (18 September 2017 – 3 November 2017)
UNWTO/GWU University ONSITE Course on “Tourism as a Path to International Cooperation & Sustainable Development” – Application deadline 15 September 2017 (5-10 November 2017, Washington, United States)

International Rural Tourism Development – An Asia-Pacific Perspective

This publication released on the occasion of the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, focuses on community empowerment and poverty alleviation through rural tourism development. The report shines a light on rural tourism development in the Asia Pacific region with fourteen specific case studies that show how communities have adapted a sustainable approach to rural tourism that stimulates economic growth, creates employment and improves the livelihood of communities.

More information on the report.

UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) launches new online platform

The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) is a network of tourism observatories monitoring the economic, environmental and social impact of tourism at the destination level. The initiative is based on UNWTO’s long-standing commitment to the sustainable and resilient growth of the sector through measurement and monitoring, supporting the evidence-based management of tourism. Through the systematic application of monitoring, evaluation and information management techniques, the initiative provides policy makers, planners, tourism managers and other relevant stakeholders with key tools to strengthen institutional capacities to support the formulation and implementation of sustainable tourism policies, strategies, plans and management processes. The vision of INSTO is to foster a dynamic network of partners that strives towards creating healthy places for both visitors and the host communities while leaving resilient destinations to future generations.

You can read more about INSTO on their recently launched new platform.

Air Tanzania sets eyes on Bujumbura


(Posted 27th July 2017)

When the third brand new Bombardier Q400NextGen is delivered to Air Tanzania next month – real ‘owner’ is a different parastatal body to make it impossible for debtors to go after the airline’s aircraft – does the revived national airline then intend to start services to Burundi’s capital Bujumbura.
The information was received overnight from a regular aviation source in Dar es Salaam.
Reportedly will the new destination be served in conjunction with Kigoma. It could however not be established how many flights per week Bujumbura will see.
Burundi is a close ally of Tanzania in the East African Community and depends to a large extend for both imports and exports on the port of Dar es Salaam, making a direct connection by air key to further expansion of trade links.
This will be the first new regional route for ATCL but more are to follow when additional aircraft – the Tanzanian government has also ordered two Bombardier CS300 jets – will join the fleet in due course.

Jambojet adds extra flights on Eldoret route as Lamu services remain suspended


(Posted 27th July 2017)

Jambojet, Kenya Airways’ fully owned low cost airline subsidiary, had announced their intent to add more flights on the Nairobi to Eldoret route.
The spare capacity is a result of the carrier suspending their services to Lamu over what they call runway conditions, though other airlines operating from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport continue to operate their flights, with albeit lighter aircraft.
Eldoret will now have 18 flights a week with notably a Sunday early afternoon service between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Eldoret’s airport. The same departure from Nairobi has been added for Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
No further information has been received however on the airline’s plans to start regional services as yet.

Corporate Council on Africa News Updates


Pothole plagued Harare seeks to build climate-resilient roads Reuters
HARARE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Heavy traffic snakes through downtown Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, maneuvering along the potholed roads as impatient… Read more>>

Downstream costs of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Institute for Security Studies
The government of Ethiopia is currently constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Once complete, the GERD will be the largest hydropower facility in Africa… Read more>>


Rwanda to be the venue for the World Travel Awards IOL
The World Travel Awards which celebrate the best of the best in the travel and hospitality industries will be bringing the African leg of the celebrations to Kigali, Rwanda in October this… Read more>>

South Africa: Tourism On National Youth Chefs Training Programme AllAfrica
"Education is the key to unlocking your potential, and Tourism has opened the door for you to new opportunities. Celebrate your achievement today, and prepare to make a… Read more>>

Seychelles Tourism keen on strengthening cooperation with Ethiopian Airlines


(Posted 26th July 2017)

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The Seychelles Tourism Board has expressed the desire the see further growth of its relationship with Ethiopian Airlines, for the betterment of both the airline and the island destination.

The Chief Executive of the STB, Mrs. Sherin Francis on Tuesday met with the outgoing Ethiopian Airlines’ area manager for Seychelles, Ms. Meseret Tekalign and her successor Ms. Meron Tsegaye.

The meeting held at the STB headquarters at the Espace Building was attended by STB’s Deputy Chief Executive Ms. Jenifer Sinon and Senior Marketing Executive Mrs. Amia Jovanovic-Desir.

Mrs Francis took the opportunity to thank Ms Tekalign for her dedication and continuous collaboration with STB during her time at the helm of the Ethiopian Airlines’ office in Seychelles.

You have been very proactive and you made every effort to understand our market, which is more of a leisure traveller market and you also worked very closely with STB supporting our events including the familiarization and media visits. We have so much airlines flying to Seychelles now but Ethiopian Airlines managed to find its own little niche, you have your group of clientele and you are growing that. At the end of the day Seychelles benefits‘ said Mrs. Francis.

Ethiopian Airlines — Ethiopia’s national carrier — is the fastest-growing, largest and most profitable airline on the African continent.

The airline, which flies from its hub in Addis Ababa to Mahe / Seychelles and beyond.

Ms. Tekalign took up her position as Ethiopian Airline’s area manager based in Victoria on the main island of Mahe in October 2014.
Now that she is coming to an end of her almost three-year tenure, Ms. Tekalign also expressed appreciation for the support received from STB’s local and overseas staff, in giving visibility to the airline.

Ms Tekalign who will be leaving Seychelles at the end of July to take up a new role assigned by Ethiopian Airlines has expressed hope that the same support would be extended to the new area manager Ms. Tsegaye.

For her part Ms. Tsegaye who has already taken up her new role, has given her commitment that she will be following in the footsteps of her predecessor and see what more can be added to the service.

After adding a fourth flight to the Seychelles route in October 2015 and a fifth flight in December 2016, Ethiopian Airlines recently announced that it will be adding a sixth weekly flight to the island destination as of December 2017.

The STB Chief Executive remarked that more frequencies also means more flexibility for travellers, while highlighting the fact that Ethiopian Airlines also supports the Seychelles’ Chinese tourism market as it provides good connections to the Chinese travellers, especially those travelling in groups.

Mrs. Francis has highlighted STB’s intention to seek further collaboration with the Ethiopian carrier in the near future, to support twin-centre holiday packages targeting specifically the U.S. market.

Ethiopian Airlines has already recorded a few firsts in Seychelles. It was the first airline to bring a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft the island nation’s shores in 2015, while in 2016 the airline landed Africa’s first and most technologically advanced aircraft, the Airbus A350XWB in the Seychelles.

For added information about Destination Seychelles click on or pay a visit to STB’s corporate website at

The Sharks of the Seychelles – by Alphonse Island’s Bennet Gevers


(Posted 26th July 2017)

The tropical waters of the Indian Ocean is home to some of the most prolific marine life in the world. From spectacular turquoise mottled species to some of the most sought-after bluewater game fishing species, these warmer waters hold an intricate and beautiful ecosystem of aquatic life. Located in the heart of all this beauty are the pristine islands of the Seychelles.

The unique biodiversity of the Seychelles has been noted as significant and as such 60% of the area is protected. Luckily with the accompaniment of some of the esteemed resorts in the region, guests can to dive into a whole new world and view these spectacular marine species in their natural and protected habitat. One of these esteemed resorts is Alphonse Island.

The Island’s very own PADI Accredited Diving Centre and its knowledgeable team guides guests on their scuba diving excursions, ensuring a safe and memorable experience. The Diving Centre also offers an array of diving courses for guests to maintain or upgrade their diving experience. Fully kitted and acquainted with your diving instructor, it is time to enter a world of vibrant colour and crystal clear waters.

Alphonse Island and its surrounds holds a collection of 23 diving sites to be explored. These sites showcase vibrant coral reefs, brightly coloured sea fans and of course, large schools of beautiful tropical species like Scorpion Fish, Manta Rays, Moray Eels, Turtles and even bigger species like Barracuda and Giant Trevally. It is also interesting to note that these sites are frequented by a variety of rare shark species found in the Seychelles. Here is a closer look at some of the species you will be able to view on your scuba diving excursion:


Tawny Nurse Shark

Nebrius ferrugineus

The Tawny Nurse Shark is the species most spotted at the Alphonse Group. This large cylindrical species with its barbels tend to hunt at night and can often be found sleeping under ledges or in crevices in the reef during the day. However, around Alphonse they have often been seen hunting during the day with an entourage of Napoleon Wrasse and Smooth Grouper in tow – a phenomenon the Island has coined ‘the Wolf Pack’. Tawny Nurse Sharks are listed as Vulnerable

Fascinating Fact: Tawny Nurse Sharks have the curious ability to change their colour from grey to sandy brown depending on their surroundings.

Best Dive Sites: West Side Wall | Eagle’s Nest | Wonderland

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Sphyrna lewini

The sightings of these silver creatures, named after the elongated shape of their heads, have become quite regular at Alphonse and residents are hopeful that this will continue into next season. The average size of Scalloped Hammerheads are measured at 1.5 – 1.8m for males and 2.5m for females with larger specimens having been spotted around Alphonse. This species is notoriously shy and thus divers are encouraged to keep noise to a minimum to ensure good sightings. Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks are listed as Endangered.

Fascinating Fact: Scalloped Hammerheads are known to form large schools of 100 or more sharks which makes it quite the sight to behold during migration season.

Best Dive Sites: Galawa | Arcade | Maggi’s Cliff

Grey Reef Shark

Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos

Grey Reef Sharks are quite a commonly found species in the Seychelles and the specimens spotted at Alphonse tend to be bigger than average. Identified by the distinctive white margin on their dorsal fin and the black margin on the tail fin, most specimens don’t grow larger than 2m in length. Grey Reef Sharks are listed as Near Threatened.

Fascinating Fact: The Grey Reef Shark was the first species known to perform a threat display – ‘hunched’ posture with dropped dorsal fins and an exaggerated side-to-side swimming motion.

Best Dive Sites: The Pinnacles | East Side Wall

Whitetip Reef Shark

Triaenodon obesus

The Whitetip Reef Shark is the smallest of the shark species that are frequently encountered around Alphonse Island. Often known for sleeping in large groups during the day and hunting at night, sleeping individuals have rarely been spotted here. This species is easily identified due to its irregular, waving swimming style and of course, the white tip on the dorsal fin. This species is also very curious and will often get quite close to divers. Whitetip Reef Sharks are listed as Near Threatened.

Fascinating Facts: Females give birth to 1 – 6 pups every other year after a gestation period of 10 – 13 months.

Best Dive Sites: Napoleon | the Pinnacles

Silvertip Shark

Carcharhinus albimarginatus

The Silvertip Shark is a sure favourite with guests of Alphonse Island. These inquisitive sharks average at 2 – 3m in length which is just big enough to get the heart racing. Naturally curious, Silvertips will often approach divers, but are nothing to worry about. This species tends to be found near steep drop-offs where there is an upwelling of cooler water. The Silvertip Shark is currently listed as Vulnerable.

Fascinating Fact: Silvertip Females can give birth to up to 11 pups.

Best Dive Sites: Napoleon | the Pinnacles | Grouper Gangway

Also have a look at the Silvertip Shark in action below:; width=”560″ height=”315″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>  

These unique and beautiful creatures form an intricate part of this stunning ecosystem and due to their vulnerable status, it is of utmost importance to protect and educate individuals about them. Guests to Alphonse Island have the added advantage of having one of the Island’s marine biologists at hand to answer any further questions about these lovely creatures.

Book your dive today to view the Sharks of the Seychelles.

The real thing – only in Travel Africa’s Shamwari News

Travel Africa Magazine’s Shamwari News for July

Don’t ask a policeman for directions in Bobo!

Jambo ATC Readers!

For readers, travelers and adventurers alike, we hope our stories give you inspiration and the information you need to explore your next destination!

The real thing

With our forthcoming 80th issue looking at the changing face of African travel over the last 20 years, Phil Clisby has been reflecting on his travels across the continent in the ’90s. Here he continues the tale of his adventure from Mali to Burkina Faso, in search of the Africa of his imagination

As we cross the border from Mauritania into Mali, I notice a dramatic change almost immediately. We are in real Africa. The Africa I had imagined. There seems to be a more relaxed attitude here, a feeling of warmth (not just from the sun, but from the people as well).

In Mauritania, and to some extent Morocco, I had felt like an uninvited guest. Tolerated rather than welcomed. But here, I feel like I can unpack my bag and hang my clothes in the wardrobe.

We play football with some local kids in the border town. Everyone on our overland truck feels good – like the trip is really beginning – now that the harshness of the desert is behind us.

But not all greetings are met so fondly. We are now in the mosquito zone ­– these annoying, buzzing insects are dive-bombing me at every opportunity. Tents are discarded, sleeping out under the stars abandoned – it’s mozzie nets all the way from here on in.

What a palaver they are to put up that first night. Trying to find trees a suitable distance apart and with branches at a convenient height on which to tie the net proves tricky. In the end, I trap one rope in a vice on the front of our truck and tie another to a 25-litre water bottle – a set-up that was to serve me well over the next five months.

After a less than restful night – I might have been safe from biting things, but I was not yet immune to their incessant whine – we set off towards Bamako, Mali’s capital.

Simon, Dennis and I are sitting on the roof seat above the truck’s cab as we drive along a corrugated dirt road, when our intrepid driver turns too late into a bend, wrenching the wheel suddenly. We skid in the soft sand, sliding at right angles to the road, straight (or rather sideways) towards a tree.

I grip the handrail tightly – though what good that will do if we go over I have no idea – thinking: “I’m going to have to jump… Oh [swear word], we’re going to hit the [swear word] tree.”

Read the full blog to discover how to blend in with the locals, how to save the soul of a Dogon and why you shouldn’t ask a policeman for directions in Bobo

Zambia’s top 50 attractions

Thinking of visiting Africa? Seek inspiration from this list of 50 attractions, from the attention-grabbing must-sees to some more offbeat gems, put together by Chris McIntyre and Tricia Hayne – who have both travelled extensively around the country over many years.

Highlights for our next edition of Travel Africa magazine include:

  • The attraction of safari, and the changing nature of the safari experience
  • Portfolio of amazing photos that wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago
  • Rhinos, symbolising the struggle and success of African wildlife conservation
  • Special report from Kenya’s Northern Rangelands Trust
  • A sensory safari in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools
  • Rwanda’s past, present and future
  • What’s the difference between a lodge, a tented camp and a bush camp?
  • The rise of urban tourism… plus so much more

Subscriber copies of the 20th Anniversary edition (80) will be mailed out at the end of September, soservice or at +44 1844 278883. We are always looking at ways to improve our service and ensure you are getting the most from your subscription to Travel Africa magazine, so help us to help you!

Safari njema!
Sherry Rix, Customer Services

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