Comoros is in pole position for the development of sustainable tourism following a strategic meeting in Madrid.

At the 9th Forum on Tourism Investment and Business Opportunities in Africa (INVESTOUR) held in Madrid on January 18, the Union of the Comoros was affirmed as one of the major players in the coming years for defence and respect for the UNWTO’s sustainable development values.

Located in the Mozambique Canal between Madagascar and Africa, the Comoros archipelago is well known for the magnificence of the largest island in this nation-state, Grande Comore and its capital Moroni, the steep inland mountains, and the flamboyant greenery of Moheli. The Comorians after a difficult period have succeeded since 2000 to endow the country with consensual institutions which have promoted exemplary peaceful alternation and lay the foundations of better governance to succeed the social and economic success of the country in order to solidly anchor it among the emerging countries of the African continent on the 2030 horizon.

The Comorian delegation included two of the most important advisors in the Vice-President Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassani: Loukmann Said El Hadi, advisor in charge of tourism, the private sector and economic affairs and Idrisse Ahamed, advisor in charge of investments, energy and the private sector.

Both were received at length on January 19 by UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili, during which they were able to underline to Mr Pololikashvili the desire of the Union of the Comoros to focus on the tourism sector, in accordance with the values defined by the Member States of the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development objectives (Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the context of these discussions, Mr Loukmann Said El Hadi and Mr Idrisse Ahamed informed the UNWTO Secretary-General of their wish to organise a conference on sustainable development in partnership with UNWTO at the end of April 2018.

The Union of the Comoros joined the UNWTO in 2017 on the occasion of the General Assembly held in Chengdu, the same assembly during which Zurab Pololikashvili was elected as Secretary-General of the organisation. This membership is part of a long-term strategy designed to make tourism in the Comoros a locomotive for the development of the country.

In addition to the UNWTO, this initiative is supported by many States, notably in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and numerous public and private organisations that are authoritative in the field of tourism.

Membership of the UNWTO was one of my priority objectives when I took office as vice president in charge of tourism

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Vice-President Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassani

After the UNWTO meeting, Vice-President Djaffar Ahmed Said Hassani, in charge of the energy, the industry of investments in the private sector of the tourism crafts and land affairs, spoke to Cleverdis about the aspirations of his nation in the field of tourism. The Vice-President says tourism is set to play an essential role in the nation henceforth. “We are convinced that much as with the islands of the Indian Ocean, that this will be one of the fundamental elements that will allow the entire economy of the Comoros to take off.”

According to the Vice-President, the “UNWTO connection” is set to be a veritable stepping stone to success. “Membership of the UNWTO was one of my priority objectives when I took office as vice president in charge of tourism because I am convinced that the organisation will not only help us develop responsible tourism but will also be a great stepping stone to let the world know about our determination in this area.”

Five axes have been retained in the short term to develop tourism:

  • 1) to publicise the Comoros destination by the presence of the country in international tourism fairs and events and to develop a communication in the social networks of ecotourism sites
  • 2) to develop new air and sea links to the Comoros and to develop cruises at the regional level
  • 3) to develop accommodation capacity by building new hotels and other forms of accommodation
  • 4) to rehabilitate tourist sites
  • 5) to provide specialised training in the sector to enhance the capacity of tourism staff and to engage young people in tourism professions