The West Africa Tourism Organisation (WATO) has signed a contract with the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) to further advance tourism development and promotion in West and Central Africa, improve on the “Belt and Road” tourism destination cooperation, set up the friendly China-African non-governmental cooperation platform and establish the panoramic strategic partnership between the two Organisations.
The contract signing event took place during the Thematic Forum on People-to-People Connectivity of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation which kicked off on 25 April 2019 at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing. The cooperation framework agreement which was signed by the Secretary General of the WTCF, Mr Song Yu and Chief Executive Officer of WATO, Ms Ola Wright has been placed on the outcome list of the Forum.
WTCF and WATO have been able to organize and establish a cooperation development mechanism based on the principle of friendly cooperation and mutual benefits in which both parties agreed to strengthen the cooperation and communication in the tourism industry in the following fields: cooperate to launch regional forum projects in renowned cities of West Africa; cooperate to hold tourism trade fairs; recommend renowned West African tourism cities to join WTCF; set up cooperation and communication platforms between members; cooperate to launch destination database cooperation, exchanging and sharing the relevant data of the destinations; mutually provide support for the other party’s relevant tourism meetings; provide free training for five select members, to be recommended by WATO, to attend the Training Program on International Tourist Destination Promotion and Marketing from WTCF.
The WTCF will also provide publicity services for WATO through the WTCF Web-media platforms, which includes the website, mobile apps, WeChat account, Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter), and other channels in order to improve the influence of the West African destinations in China.
CEO of WATO noted that President Xi Jinping’s speech was visionary, and she being able to listen to him and other world leaders including Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Vladimir Putin of Russia speak on the impact of tourism globally, was one of her achievements during the forum. Adding, she said; “I also signed important outcome documents during the forum, and signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with WTCF to strengthen tourism cooperation. As the person in charge of the West Africa Tourism Organisation, I have been so much inspired.”
Ms Wright also held meetings with various tourism investors and top Chinese tour operators during her trip to the most populous country in the world which is one of the top five tourism markets of 2018, representing 47 percent of the global Travel and Tourism GDP collectively with USA, Japan, Germany and the UK.
WATO and the WTCF will arrange and set in place the circulation of personnel for the MOU in order to better realize the exchange visits between Chinese tourists and African tourists. The arrival of Chinese companies into Africa through partnerships with different governments on the continent to pave high quality roads and build high speed rail, among other projects is within world view. These infrastructural projects provide more conditions for enhancing tourism exchanges and interconnection between China and Africa.
The West Africa Tourism Organisation, a non-profit tourism Organisation managed by a committee consisting of tourism experts and professionals, is committed to promoting and developing the tourism industry of West and Central Africa by providing training and consulting services for the region. Services include marketing, public relations, trainings, tourism development and others. The Organisation keeps close cooperation relations with West and Central African countries, and now has 17 member countries from Africa, which proactively participate in the activities of the Organisation.