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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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Middle East & Africa

Middle East & Africa REGION 33 Visitors Returning to ‘Stable’ Côte d’Ivoire Political stability entices travellers back to the West African country Roger Kacou Minister of Tourism for the Côte d’Ivoire With 480 km of tropical coastline and 59 national parks and game reserves, Kenya offers the best possible combination of beach holidays and wildlife safari experiences. Due to our country’s diversity and the warmth of our people from 42 different ethnic communities, we have a high rate of repeat travellers who experience new facets of the country during each visit. How important is ecotourism for Kenya? In 2009 Kenya was voted the Best Destination For Ecotourism in the world by both the public and travel trade in China. Apart from the numerous national parks, we have an increasing number of communityowned conservation organisations which generate incomes through wildlife tourism. Kenya has also been selected to host the prestigious Eco-tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) 2013. Roger Kacou, the Minister of Tourism for the Côte d’Ivoire, is at ITB Berlin to promote his country’s safety, improved infrastructure and diverse tourism offerings. The big challenge will be to change perceptions of an area that was a war zone five years ago. “The main message is that the country is back on the map. For the Because the country is again stable we can talk about the Destinations again Conservation and Safety Keys to Kenya’s appeal Muriithi Ndegwa, Managing Director of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), told ITB Berlin News about the rise of ecotourism, vastly improved security on Kenya’s borders, and the rich variety of travel options in the East African nation. Force has greatly improved security within the Kenyan borders. Recently, four cruise ships docked at Mombasa and Lamu, confirming that Kenya’s waters are safe. Hall 21.A Stand 128 last two years there has been a new democratically elected government,” said Mr. Roger Kacou of a nation that has bounced back quickly from near ten years of political crisis. “The country is so rich potentially in terms of touristic attractions. Because the country is again stable, and you can travel safely throughout the country, not just in the major cities, we can talk about the destinations again.” With tourism numbers already set to double between 2011 and 2015, the government is investing heavily in infrastructure projects including new highways, hotel renovations and the reconstruction of the airport in the capital, Yamoussoukro. With improved accessibility, visitors will again be able to explore the Côte d’Ivoire’s cultural and natural diversity. The country has more than 60 distinct ethnic groups with their own dialect, cuisine and traditions. “Each are microcountries that are very wellpreserved and very rich,” said the Minister. Muslims and Christians each make up about 40% of the population, and visitors can experience ancient mosques and the world’s largest basilica. Some 550km of beaches, eight National Parks and four UNESCO World Heritage sites add to the area’s appeal. Agri-tourism is another key selling point. The Côte d’Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa in the world, and its vast tropical cocoa, coffee and pineapple plantations are already a major attraction. Meanwhile, the Ivorian football superstar Didier Drogba has been a feature of campaigns promoting chocolate made from Ivorian cocoa. Before the civil war, annual visitors to the Côte d’Ivoire averaged four hundred thousands. Mr. Roger Kacou is confident that these numbers can again be reached by 2020. [INTERVIEW BY Stuart Braun]] Hall 21A Stand 110 How has Kenya moved to ensure the security of all travellers? The capture of the port of Kismayu in Somalia last year by the Kenya Defense Muriithi Ndegwa Managing Director of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 8 th March 2013

ITB Berlin News