Member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) are meeting in Balaclava, Mauritius, for a three-day workshop starting Wednesday on the development of tourism after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is imperative to rethink tourism to make it a more inclusive, sustainable, equitable and resilient sector in the context of global challenges,” said Mauritian Deputy Prime Minister Louis Steven Obeegadoo, who also serves as minister of tourism.
Obeegadoo spoke of the challenges facing tourism as a result of Covid-19 while noting that public and private partnerships have enabled the industry to recover from the pandemic and that the recovery rate is expected to be over 80 percent this year in his country.
Highlighting other challenges such as climate change and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which are disrupting global supply chains as well as the increasing number of viral pandemics, the deputy prime minister spoke of the need to learn from the pandemic to make the industry more resilient.
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Referring to tourism as a key to economic growth and recovery, he stressed the importance of nature-based tourism in promoting sustainability and resilience.
IORA acting Secretary General Rajib Tripura reiterated the association’s commitment to promoting tourism and cultural exchange, saying the IORA will continue to facilitate, coordinate, monitor and implement projects, policy documents and work programs to promote regional cooperation for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian Ocean region.
Dirk Glaesser, director of the Sustainable Development of Tourism Program at the World Tourism Organisation, called for a change in approach to the detection of communicable and emerging diseases for a more resilient and sustainable tourism industry.
“The exchange of individual best practices during the workshop as well as the sharing of lessons learned from the pandemic will help to improve and guide the sector,” he added. The workshop is attended by around 50 senior local and international IORA officials.
It provides an opportunity to understand how nature-based tourism can be seen as a solution by identifying tools and mechanisms for sustainable development. It also serves as a platform to share experiences from different countries and discuss the challenges ahead.
Source: The East African