In order to update and approve the new regulation texts for tourist lodging businesses within the ECOWAS area, Director Generals and Specialists in the National Tourism Sectors of Member States have converged in Lomé, the capital of Togo. The implementation of these new laws will provide the ECOWAS destination with standardized, high-quality, and affordable lodging options for hotels, eco-lodges, motels, apart-hotels, guest houses, cruise ships, campgrounds, and vacation resorts.
This new regulation will be defined by affirming national cultural and architectural identities, taking into account the environment and the climate, and creating labels and certificates that will be specific to the West African Region. These hotel classification criteria and control systems were sourced from international standards and best practices applied to tourist accommodation infrastructures around the world.
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 during the opening ceremony before officially opening the meeting. This welcome demonstrates our shared desire to use the tourism sector as a tool for the economic and social development of our respective countries, he added. He also praised the ECOWAS Commission for picking the capital of Togo to symbolize a crucial turning point in the country’s tourism development plan.
He stressed the significance of this expert gathering, which will help the area become more competitive and high-quality while also growing the GDP of the ECOWAS region. In order to incorporate their goals for our tourism business into these documents, he invited Experts to assume ownership of them. He encouraged them to use all of their knowledge and creativity to improve the proposals on the table. He emphasized that he relies on the Experts’ attentiveness within the specified time frames so that we can together convey the recommendation to bring the texts to the top authority of the Conference of Heads of State and Government to the attention of the ministries of tourism, he Added
Dr. Anthony Luka Elumelu of ECOWAS, who was speaking in place of Ms. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs & Agriculture, reaffirmed the participants’ unwavering commitment to the growth of a sustainable tourist industry in the area.
He praised the significant economic benefits provided by the tourism sector to several economies around the globe, which has raised the demand for lodging for tourists. Nevertheless, he continued, the associated demand necessitates effective regulation to guarantee both the survival of the sector and the safety and comfort of tourists.
He recalled that the text prepared by the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat in 1999, which no longer meets the needs of the expanding industry that has evolved and transformed with the deployment of new accommodation formulas such as guest rooms and ecolodges, served as the blueprint for the region’s hotel supply. Among other things, he continued, the appeal, accessibility, amenities, security, and environmental imperatives, without forgetting the public health concerns brought on by the shock of epidemics and pandemics that have inflamed our region, were what motivated the rewriting of the regulation texts.
Mrs. Stella Christiane DRABO, Program Officer for Tourism in ECOWAS, presented the regulatory texts for the classification of tourist lodging establishments to the participants. Subsequent recommendations will be approved by the Ministers Responsible for Tourism in ECOWAS at the Ministerial Meeting on Friday, April 7, 2023.