Director Generals and Experts in the National Tourism sectors of Member States within West Africa have converged on Lomé, the Togolese capital for a three (3) – day technical meeting on tourism which aimed at amending and validating the new regulatory texts for tourist accommodations within ECOWAS region.
The adoption of these new regulations will give the ECOWAS destination a harmonized, standardized, qualitative and competitive accommodation services for hotels, ecolodges, motels, apartment hotels, hostels, guest houses, cruise-boat, camping/caravan, holiday village, Inns et al.
These hotel classification criteria and control systems were sourced from international standards and best practises applied to tourist accommodation infrastructures around the world which will define a new regulation by affirming national cultural and architectural identities, considering the environment and the climate by creating labels and certificate that will be specific to the West African Region.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Kossi G. LAMADOKOU, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Togo, welcomed the leaders of the tourism industry to the beautiful country of Togo which testifies to the common desire to make the tourism sector a lever for the economic and social development of the respective countries within the corridor.
He also paid a tribute to the ECOWAS Commission for choosing the Togolese capital, Lomé to mark a major turning point in the development strategy of tourism in West Africa.
He further said the importance of the meeting of the experts was to improve the quality, competitiveness and thus contribute to raising the GDP of the ECOWAS zone.
The Minister advocated for the deployment of all their expertise and ingenuity to enrich the proposals on the table stressing that he counted on the experts’ diligence within the given deadlines so they could, together bring to the attention of the ministers of tourism of other member States, the recommendation in order to advance the texts to the supreme anointing of the Conference of Heads of State and Government.
On his part, Dr, Anthony Luka ELUMELU, ECOWAS Director for Private Sector, who represented the Commissioner for Economic Affairs & Agriculture, Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, reiterated the unalloyed commitment of participants for the development and sustainable tourism sector in the region.
He also hailed the large contributions made by the tourism industry to many economies around the world, which have increased the demand for tourist accommodations, he however believed, the associated demand comes with the need for proper regulation to ensure the safety and comfort of tourists, as well as the sustainability of the industry.
He further recalled that the hotel supply within the ECOWAS region was guided by the text prepared by the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat since in 1999, which according to him no longer meets the needs of the growing industry that has evolved and transformed with the deployment of new accommodations’ formulas such as guest rooms and ecolodges. These emerging issues are what inspired the revision of the regulatory texts: among others; the attraction, accessibility, amenities, security and environmental imperatives without forgetting the public health aspects induced by the shock of epidemics and pandemics that have riled the region.
In closing, participants were presented with the regulatory texts for the classification of tourist accommodation establishments by Mrs. Stella Christiane DRABO, Program Officer Tourism ECOWAS and subsequent recommendations will be validated by the Ministers in Charge of Tourism within ECOWAS at the ministerial meeting on Friday, 7th April, 2023.