INTRODUCTION: African is trying to change its 'tourist image'. Delegates from 28 African countries met?
INTRODUCTION: African is trying to change its 'tourist image'. Delegates from 28 African countries met in Algiers on Sunday (24 April), to find a new way of presenting the continent's attractions to the rest of the world. They were attending a meeting in the Algerian capital of the African Tourism Organisation, which is affiliated to the World body.
SYNOPSIS: The delegates gathered in one of a number of modern hotels that Algeria and other African countries are building to attract foreign visitors. But, they say, many tourists are coming to the continent for misguided or incorrect reasons - and a new approach to tourism must be developed.
The session was opened by the Secretary General of the Algerian Tourist Ministry, M. Abderahim Mustapha. His and other delegations were concerned that many visitors were attracted only by glossy posters of game parks and wild animals, and were not prepared for the social conditions they found on arrival. Consequently, they were disappointed and dissatisfied. Some delegates blamed overseas tourist companies for presenting a distorted image solely to exploit African tourist possibilities. The conference is therefore searching for ways to present what it calls the true African way of life, while still emphasising the continent's scenic attractions. They also want to establish some type of uniformity in the overseas advertising each country uses.
The organisation also plans to undertake an extensive study of overseas tourist markets to see what changes and improvements can be made at home.
The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, Robert Lonati, was one of the speakers. The international body was originally established to generally improve travel conditions throughout the world.
A recent United Nations report by UNESCO - the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - stressed that care must be taken when encouraging tourism in developing countries. The report praised the industry for the promotion of art forms, particularly in Africa, but stressed that many civilisations are threatened after being exploited for tourism, and by subsequent rapid and unplanned economic expansion.