The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization , Taleb Rifai , and the President of the Banesto Foundation, Antonio Basagoiti, today presented the cooperation agreement signed by the two organizations, at UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid .
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Banesto Foundation have presented a cooperation agreement aimed at identifying, providing technical support to and financing tourism business projects in Ethiopia , Mozambique and Tanzania . Although activities will be carried out initially in these three countries, the agreement may be extended to others in Africa and to Latin America in the future.
The agreement, presented by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and Banesto Foundation President, Antonio Basagoiti, sets the basis for the identification, evaluation, and technical and financial support of projects undertaken preferably by women, associations or cooperatives— with special emphasis on the leadership role of women — and communities in the tourism sector. Project selection will be carried out jointly taking into consideration, among other aspects, economic viability, potential impact on the local economy, the promotion and employment of women, solidarity aspects and environmental sustainability.
The allocation of funds as well as guidance and technical assistance, is to be carried out through UNWTO collaborating organizations in the beneficiary countries. Funding will be provided in the form of subsidies or micro credits with the support of local organizations.
Resources will come from the Banesto Foundation or from third-party contributions, as a result of agreements with collaborating organizations, from fund raising activities, or from individual contributions made online through the Banesto Foundation’s web initiative, “Sustainable and Responsible Tourism”. All projects will become part of the sustainable and responsible tourism network promoted by the Banesto Foundation in Africa and Latin America .
At the presentation held today, Taleb Rifai and Antonio Basagoiti both hi ghl ighted tourism's potential as an engine for the economic and social development of least developed countries and underlined the importance of access to financing and technical assistance for small enterprises in the tourism sector, as well as the special significance and importance of women in tourism, a growing sector in Africa and Latin America.