Coastal Tourism Project Successfully Completed in Africa (Mid-2009 to Mid-2014)

18 Jun 14

With the organization of the final project steering committee meeting in Victoria, Seychelles, the Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism (COAST) Project in Africa has been successfully completed. The COAST project, a GEF funded project, was carried out by UNEP as implementing agency, UNIDO as executing agency and UNWTO as associate agency, and included activities in nine countries in Africa (Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, and Tanzania). The project had a duration of five years (from mid-2009 to mid-2014), and included components on Eco-tourism and on Sustainable Tourism Governance & Management, coordinated by UNWTO, and components on Environmental Management Systems, Reef and Marine Recreation & Management, and Knowledge Management, coordinated by UNIDO.

For the Eco-tourism component, UNWTO undertook a best practices study, organized regional capacity building seminars for key project stakeholders introducing the ST-EP (sustainable tourism – eliminating poverty) methodology, delivered specific seminars on tourism and biodiversity in the Gambia, Ghana and Tanzania, supported the COAST countries to carry out a tourism value chain analysis in the selected demonstration sites, and worked with local partners to formulate and implement eco-tourism projects in Cameroon, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The eco-tourism projects delivered tangible results on how local people can earn increased income through biodiversity based tourism products, such as a mangrove board walk in Kenya, or canoe tours in Ghana, and at the same time use tourism development as a motivation to help protect the environment, e.g. through mangrove re-planting in Tanzania or beach clean-up campaigns in the Gambia. The eco-tourism project activities in Cameroon and the Gambia will continue with additional funding mobilized via the ST-EP Foundation and the EuropaMundo Foundation, respectively, whereas other countries expressed an interest to explore possibilities to upscale project activities and/or and replicate the approach at other sites.

For the Sustainable Tourism Governance & Management component, UNWTO carried out field studies in each of the participating countries, which formed the basis to prepare detailed action plans for the national and local level, as well as to publish a global report, titled “Sustainable Tourism Governance and Management in Coastal Areas of Africa”. Based on the field studies, action plans and publication, UNWTO organized regional seminars in Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal, which served to create an enhanced understanding of national and local mechanisms that support sustainable tourism governance and management in coastal areas, and to exchange experiences gained with the implementation of the various COAST project activities. Based on the project findings, UNWTO prepared a paper on sustainable tourism governance in coastal areas of Africa, which has been included in a UN interagency e-publication on Oceans.

Further information on the COAST project can be found at the project’s website: http://coast.iwlearn.org/en.