The President of ATB, Hon. Cuthbert Ncube, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with HE Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Tourism, Trade, Industry, and Mining (ETTIM), today at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The African Tourism Board is an association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the African region. Also in attendance to witness the signing was the Hon. Silesh Girma, State Minister of the Ministry of Tourism for Ethiopia.

African Tourism Board patron Dr. Taleb Rifai, former UNWTO Secretary-General, expressed his appreciation for the MOU signing. He said: “Tourism has become today an extremely important activity.

“No wonder the African Union is signing this memo with the African Tourism Board. Today, tourism is not only a significant economic sector, it is also a wonderful peace builder. It brings everybody together and breaks down all barriers.

“One can never ever carry any feelings of resentment or stereotyping any nation after he has visited it, had lunch or dinner with somebody at the host country, listened to their stories. It’s people rubbing shoulders with people, it’s the best medium to break down all stereotypes and foster world peace.

“It’s particularly important for Africa, where most of the people of the world today don’t know Africa, it’s important that when they come, they learn from us, they would know that all the people of the world came out of Africa, east Africa in particular is without doubt the birthplace of mankind; this is proven by everybody. Looking at the BBC program ‘The Journey of Man’ – it says it quite clearly.

“This is a historic day – it caters to the so-called sustainable development tourism in Africa Sustainability is not just about the environment, as important as that is, it’s about social and economic sustainability in addition. ATB is the world’s body that does that for Africa. That is why this is a very important opportunity for all.

“I wish I was there in person, but my health has prevented me from being with you at my beloved Addis Ababa, where we all came out of there. I wish you all the best of time and ‘Long live Africa?’”