WAEN Calls for Protection of the Ecosystem for the Benefit of Future Generations

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By: Kebba Ansu Manneh 

The West Africa Ecotourism Network has renewed the call to protect the ecosystem for future generations while applauding the efforts of individuals, organizations, and businesses that prioritize environmental conservation, community engagement, and cultural preservation in their endeavors.

They made this declaration at the end of a two-day convergence in a local hotel in Banjul, where they urged stakeholders to reinforce their efforts in maintaining standard services in their various ecotourism enterprises to sustain growth and development.

Officials disclosed that the organization’s objective is to inspire and support ecotourism actors and stakeholders in their initiatives to develop and administer viable ecotourism operations in West Africa. The organization aims to harmonize and build ecotourism efforts as a contributor to the comprehensive growth and welfare of the region.

“Throughout this event, we will have the opportunity to learn from each other, to share insights and best practices, and to forge partnerships that will further advance the cause of ecotourism. Together, we can inspire others to embrace a more sustainable approach to travel and experience the world in a way that positively impacts both people and the planet,” said Madam Ola Wright, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), WAEN.

She added: “I encourage each of you to embrace this opportunity to deepen your understanding of ecotourism and become ambassadors for change in your own communities. Together, we can pave the way for a future where travel enriches our lives and protects the precious ecosystems that make our planet so extraordinary.”

WEAN anchor lady also emphasized the transformative power of ecotourism, especially at a time when the West Ecosystem is under threat. She highlighted that ecotourism is not only about exploring exotic destinations but about doing so responsibly, with a profound respect for the environment and local communities, thereby creating a positive ripple effect.

“The day event was a good one as we talked about different issues and had different masterclasses that can help us develop ecotourism in West Africa. I shared my experience with participants from The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Benin, among others. When I talked about my country (South Tome and Principe), many people were surprised that it’s in West Africa,” Nelsy Souso Carvalho highlighted the importance of convergence.

She added, “I believe this type of event can help us build a strong West African team that can promote ecotourism in the region. The different topics we have learned during the masterclasses, including communication and market research in ecotourism, will help the participants individually do the right things back in their countries.”

Cornelia Danso, a participant from Ghana, and Hassan Abdullahi Zakari, a participant from Nigeria, all echoed similar sentiments regarding the convergence, while the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Abdou Jobe, officially opened the two-day event that took place from 6 to 7 May 2024.

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