Didier Drogba becomes Ambassador for Responsible Tourism

Didier Drogba, former Chelsea FC goal poacher is still scoring goals, even outside of the pitch of the round leather game; as he has been appointed United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) ambassador for responsible tourism.

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has demonstrated its support for the Côte d’Ivoire tourism sector. The organisation has done this by participating in a key high-level round table discussion in Dubai and recruiting Ivorian footballing legend, Didier Drogba, as the newest Ambassador for Responsible Tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili, participated at a resource mobilisation round table at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism and Leisure of Côte d’Ivoire. This meeting was one of a series of donor round tables organised by the Ministry as it works to finance the ambitious “Sublime Côte d’Ivoire” tourism development strategy. Also in attendance was H.E. Mr. Patrick Achi, Secretary-General to The Presidency of The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, highlighting the country’s commitment to UNWTO’s mission.

The ‘Sublime Côte d’Ivoire’ strategy, which will run until 2025, is aimed at making Côte d’Ivoire the fifth largest tourism hub in Africa. The country hopes to welcome more than 4 million tourists a year within the next six years. To help Côte d’Ivoire achieve this goal, UNWTO will offer its expertise and support, with a particular emphasis to be placed on diversifying the tourism sector and encouraging international investment.

A vast range of tourism projects were presented by the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure of Côte d’Ivoire, which culminated with the signing of pledges worth just over $5 billion.

UNWTO proudly encourages Côte d’Ivoire to continue its effort to attract investments to support the growth of the tourism sector. As such, H.E. Mr. Siandou Fofano, Minister of Tourism and Leisure of Côte d’Ivoire, announced that the country would host, in collaboration with UNWTO, a tourism investment forum in February 2020 to provide a platform for investment opportunities in the tourism sector in Côte d’Ivoire, and Africa in general.

Meanwhile, UNWTO is to continue to lead the way in growing wildlife tourism and harnessing it as a driver for conservation and development, supported by a major new US$1 million donation from the Chimelong Flora and Fauna Conservation Foundation.

In 2018, the wildlife tourism sector contributed an estimated $120 billion to the global economy and this amount is set to keep growing as more people travel to enjoy nature. The economic benefits derived from tourism are encouraging countries to step up their wildlife conservation efforts, many with the help of UNWTO in partnership with Chimelong.

To date, 15 projects have been launched through the UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative, all designed to promote and strengthen sustainable tourism practices related to wildlife tourism. This new $1 million donation, announced within the framework of the Chimelong Tourism Development Forum in Guangzhou, will be used to continue the initiative.

Pololikashvili said, “Wildlife tourism has the potential to benefit both people and planet and so play a key role in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This is a sector with huge potential, and this donation from the Chimelong will help destinations across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region enjoy the many benefits this can bring. On behalf of UNWTO, I thank the Chimelong Flora and Fauna Conservation Foundation for their generous support.”

Tourism sector leaders participating in the International Forum also benefitted from a special session on media relations and communications within the context of wildlife tourism. Led by Marcelo Risi, Chief of Communications at UNWTO, the session was designed to help participants promote themselves as wildlife tourist destinations; thereby benefitting from a more diverse tourism economy and the related benefits this can bring, including more jobs particularly in rural areas.