Many countries and regions in Africa rely on tourism revenue as the main foreign currency earner. Ministers of Tourism from around the African continent are in disbelieve in the state of the world at this time, and some are nervous. Many heads of State in Africa don’t really know how to react.
Also, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has not made any statements, and Gloria Guevara, head of WTTC has not reacted.
Hopefully, UNWTO is working behind the scene by pointing out to Iran and the U.S. about the consequences for the tourism industry in case of a growing conflict between the two nations.
The U.S. President tweeted yesterday he had 52 Iranian targets in site representing also Iranian Cultural sites. This was a threat targeting global heritage, and would not only punish Iran. Global heritage is part of global tourism.
Cuthbert said on Sunday:
“At the African Tourism Board (ATB) we condemn the use of violence perpetrated by either party as violence begets violence, and in most cases, innocent people get caught up on the crossfire.
We therefore encourage and are pleading for a constructive dialogue between the United States and the Iran presidents Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani.
The tension between the U.S. and Iran will affect Global Peace, and deprive connectivity within the tourism space. Tourism is the livelihood for more than 10% of the global population and specifically, in Africa it is critical income needed by our people.
If the situation between the two nations is not checked and corrected it will raise mistrust, others will get involved and could spread like a bushfire.
We, therefore condemn in the strongest terms any act of violence. Such violence will most likely lead to retaliation and further escalate into a full-blown war.”