Awal urges UNWTO to help support COVID-19 vaccination efforts


The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has charged the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to help mobilise COVID-19 vaccines to support the vaccination efforts in member-countries.

He said as the umbrella-body of Tourism promotion globally, UNWTO is in a better position to convince developed nations to contribute appreciable quantities of vaccines to support the global vaccination drive – especially in less-developed countries.

Dr. Awal made the call when he spoke at the 41st World Tourism Day celebration held in Abidjan- Cote d’ lvoire, under the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ on Monday.

According to the Tourism Minister, the cost and availability of vaccines are far above the means of most developing countries, and therefore the need for UNWTO to spearhead the effort in assisting developing countries to acquire more vaccines.

“COVID-19 has had devastating impact on livelihoods and jobs around the globe, and it is time vations supported each other to minimise effects of the pandemic and stimulate economic growth.”

Dr. Awal stated that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is committed to ensuring that 20 million Ghanaians are vaccinated against COVID-19 by close of this year.

He added that in addition to ensuring that many Ghanaians are vaccinated against COVID-19, the government of Ghana is enforcing the observance of COVID-19 protocols.

Touching on the Beyond the Return project, the minister entreated Africans in the diaspora to visit Ghana and connect to their roots.

“Ghana is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, with a favourable investment climate and proactive leadership,” he said.

The Prime Minister of Cote d’ lvoire, Mr. Patrick Jerome Achi who opened the World Tourism Day Celebration, stated that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the global economy including Cote d’ lvoire.

According to him, international tourist arrivals have reduced by over 65%, and this has affected the country’s revenue generation and job-creation capacity.

He therefore called on the world to work together to ensure revitalisation of the Tourism sector.

On his part, the Secretary General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, said to achieve inclusiveness there is a need for political and economic commitment and action, to invest in people and places where it will make a real difference.

Mr. Pololikashvili explained that inclusivity means that everyone who has a stake in tourism should also have a say in the sector’s future.

He said political commitment is evidenced by the large ministerial representation at the celebration, which he indicated was the highest on record for an official World Tourism Day celebration.

“This is very encouraging, and confirms that the need for inclusive policy is a shared priority for our sector,” Mr. Pololikashvili said.

Mr. Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism and Leisure for Cote d’ lvoire stressed the need for African countries in particular to remove barriers which hinder travelling within the continent.

This, he noted, will not only enhance trade and investment on the continent, but also lead to the growth of Tourism.

He expressed his appreciation to UNWTO for choosing Cote d’ lvoire to host this year’s celebration.

From left: Mr. Fofona, Dr. Awal, Mr. Achi and Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO-GTA

The event was attended by Tourism Ministers and other key stakeholders in the Tourism sector from countries such as The Gambia, Spain, Mali, Niger, Tanzania, Togo and  DR Congo.

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