East Africa tourism platform wins global innovation award

The event in Madrid, Spain was attended by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.

Thursday January 21 2016

From left: Tourism CS Najib Balala, UNWTO

From left: Tourism CS Najib Balala, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai and Regional Coordinator EATP Carmen Nibigira during the award ceremony in Madrid, Spain on January 20, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By BERNARDINE MUTANU
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The tourism sector in East Africa has received a major boost after the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), an organisation of the region’s stakeholders, received an international endorsement.

EATP emerged first runners-up during the 12th UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism.

The awards ceremony was held in Madrid, Spain Wednesday night.

EATP was recognised for developing a multi-destination knowledge management tool.

The event was attended by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.

EATP developed the tool that made it easy for tourists to tour numerous destinations across East Africa from a point of information.

Speaking after receiving the award on behalf of the five East African countries, EATP Regional Co-ordinator Carmen Nibigira said the tool was “nominated and awarded for its works towards an inclusive model of tourism governance which involves diverse tourism stakeholders.”

EATP Regional Co-ordinator Carmen Nibigira

EATP Regional Co-ordinator Carmen Nibigira after receiving the award on behalf of the five East African countries. PHOTO | COURTESY

109 WORLD SUBMISSIONS

It was among 17 projects which were selected from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe as finalists from 109 worldwide submissions.

According to a press release from EATP, the global award “recognises initiatives that are highly innovative and managed by a public or public-private institution that reflect tangible and sustainable improvements in policy, processes, and governance.”

“Through this tool, regional tourism stakeholders have started trading each other’s products, packaging tourism products without borders, bench-marking among themselves and learning from each other.

“We are one people, but with a rich cultural diversity that needs to be tapped and harnessed for the benefit of developing tourism and our economies at large” said Ms Nibigira.

The tool is an online product that aims to reach over 10,000 tourism operators across East Africa.

They will be trained and exposed to selling products across the five countries.

Mr Balala praised the win as a big boost for the East Africa tourism products.

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