President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and the Vice President of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza, on Wednesday arrived in Kigali, Rwanda ahead of the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) opening ceremony slated for Thursday.
The Tanzania Head of State arrived at Kigali International Airport (KIA) on Wednesday afternoon where she was officially welcomed by Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, while Vice President Bazombanza was received by Gen (Rtd) James Kabarebe, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation.
President Suluhu and VP Banzombanza are among the heads of state expected to grace the summit, alongside the host President Paul Kagame, and President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, who is also expected in Kigali.
Speaking at a media conference in Kigali on Wednesday, WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson said that the next two and a half days will mark a significant moment for the world to come together to shape the agenda for tourism and travel in the future, in the wake of global disruptions.
Simpson however said that the global Travel & Tourism sector is making a robust comeback, bouncing back to the pre-pandemic vigour of 2019.
“Despite economic and geopolitical turmoil in 2023, we’re seeing that this year so far is showing a faster recovery,” said adding previous predictions in March have been exceeded by travel and tourism current performance in every region of the world.
The latest data from WTTC and its partner Oxford Economics shows that global travel is surging back, with all regions recovering faster than previously expected, with Asia-Pacific leading the way.
“Our latest data highlights our sector’s enduring appeal and resilience and is recovering faster than anticipated. This trend underlines the longstanding consumer appetite for travel, and despite China’s full recovery potential yet to be realised, the global sector’s performance is exceeding expectations.”
Latest Sector Sustainability Figures Also Revealed
WTTC recently launched the latest industry-shaping Environmental Impact Research data (ESR), in partnership with the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC), part of the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.
Last year, during the WTTC Global Summit in Riyadh, the two organisations launched the collaboration and unveiled the inaugural results including the sector’s accurate greenhouse gas emissions for the first time ever.
This represents the most comprehensive environmental data in Travel & Tourism’s history including the sector’s energy, and water use footprint.
Not only tells the sector’s direct impact, but also its supply chain impacts, both within national borders and those that are embedded in Travel & Tourism’s international supply chains.
According to the data, Travel & Tourism was responsible for 8.1% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, 10.6% of total global energy and 0.9% of freshwater use.
The groundbreaking ESR data covers 185 countries across all regions and will be updated each year with the latest figures.
Building upon WTTC’s world-renowned Economic Impact Research, this initiative introduces individualized factsheets for each country and major global regions, and a dedicated microsite allowing users to explore the data in detail.
Delegates From Around the World Join WTTC Global Summit
As host to the first ever WTTC Global Summit in Africa, the event in Kigali, will feature footballing legend Didier Drogba; Justin Urquhart-Stewart, Global Economist and renowned business commentator; Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board; as well as Heads of State from the region.
Other speakers include Ineza Umuhoza Grace, Climate Activist; Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Arsenal Football Club; and David Pekoske, TSA Administrator of the United States.
WTTC Members, international media, and government representation from over 45 countries are also attending the event in Kigali.