Director Generals and Experts in the National Tourism sectors of Member States has converged in Lomé the Togolese capital for a three (3) – day technical meeting for Tourism to amend and validate the new regulatory texts for tourist accommodation establishments within ECOWAS region.
The adoption of these new regulations will give the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) destination a harmonized, standardized, qualitative and competitive accommodation services for Hotels, Ecolodges, Motels, Appart’hotels, Hostels, Guest houses, Cruise-boat, Camping/caravan, Holiday village and Inns.
These hotel classification criteria and control systems were sourced from international standards and best practises applied to tourist accommodation infrastructures around the world, will define a new regulation by affirming national cultural and architectural identities, considering the environment and the climate, and creating labels and certificate that will be specific to the West African Region.
During the opening ceremony, before declaring the meeting open, Dr. Kossi G. LAMADOKOU, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Leisure of Togo, welcomed the leaders of the tourism industry to the beautiful Country of Togo which testifies to our common desire to make the tourism sector a lever for the economic and social development of our respective countries, he added.
He further paid tribute to the ECOWAS Commission to choosing the Togolese capital to mark a major turning point in the development strategy of tourism in Togo.
He emphasized the importance of the meeting of experts which will improve quality and competitiveness and thus contribute to raising the GDP of the ECOWAS zone. He advocated for them to deploy all their expertise and ingenuity to enrich the proposals on the table.
He stressed that he counts on the Experts’ diligence within the given deadlines so that we can, together, bring to the attention of the ministers of tourism the recommendation to bring 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 to the development of sustainable tourism sector in the region.
He hailed the large contributions made by the tourism industry to many economies around the world, which has increased the demand for tourist accommodation. However, 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 added.
He recalled that the hotel supply within the ECOWAS region was guided by the text prepared by the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat in 1999, which no longer meets the needs of the growing industry that has evolved and transformed with the deployment of new accommodation 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 our region, he said
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 in ECOWAS, at the ministerial meeting on Friday, 7th April, 2023.