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Panel 1 – The “Fonds Bleu”, Source of funding for Ecotourism

CONTENT

Tourism is recognized as one of the largest industries in the world, offering a tremendous potential for developing countries in terms of sources of income, foreign exchange earnings, employment and economic development. It accounts for 4.3% of world GDP and 30% of world exports of services. It accounts for 9.4% of global investment and employs about 8% of the global workforce.

Tourism is also an important promoter of awareness, support and income for the natural and cultural heritage. It can also be a very valuable tool for sustainable development, also in rural areas of developing countries, where most of poor people live and where there are very few development options.

With the rapid progress of ecotourism, a rapid growth could be generated, respecting the carrying capacity of each ecosystems. This growth creates great opportunities but also great challenges. It is necessary to manage this growth in a sustainable manner while respecting the carrying capacity of ecosystems.

The tourism impacts on the environment, economy, culture and the society could be positive or negative. Depending on how tourism is planned, developed and managed. A good tourism policy must necessarily incorporate a sustainable development and poverty reduction approach. It must also demonstrate a commitment by all actors, from national and decentralized authorities to consumers, to private operators and civil society organizations. All the actors should have common objectives for integrated tourism management, to protect the national resources and better guarantee the long-term benefits of tourism.

The Republic of Congo has adopted a National Development Plan (NDP) and a Strategic Document for Growth, Employment and Poverty Reduction (DSCERP according to its French acronym) covering the period 2012-2016. One of the strategic pillars of NDP and DSCERP is the Economic diversification through seven economic clusters, including tourism and hospitality.

With the aim to realize this strategic choice, the Government decided to draw up and adopt a « Sustainable Tourism Development Master Plan » (P3DT DSCERP according to its French acronym) to lay the foundations for planned tourism. It’s including a high contribution of the achievement of the economic diversification and the development of the country as stipulated by the PND and the DSCERP.

Beginning in 2013, a consultation framework is implemented with the UNDP Representative Office in the Republic of Congo. The objective is to ensure the efforts for the tourist activity development in the Republic of Congo. The project « Development of the strategy and of the master plan for the sustainable tourism development » was launched in December 2014 and were made throughout the following year.

The Master Plan will be the tool for the implementation of the Government’s vision for the tourism sector. The principal interest has been to define the main orientations of the sector and fix the medium and long-term objectives, by describing the programs and projects to be implemented to achieve these objectives in a coordinated, synergistic and coherent way. The goal is to build a touristic industry, which may better contribute to the Republic of Congo’s economic and social development.

The success of the master plan implementation is largely dependent on the involvement of other sectors of the economy, the process considered the following aspects:

The tourism statistics
The institutional and regulatory aspects of tourism
Financing and investment in the sector
The development of tourist sites
The installation and promotion of the tourist sites
The transport and infrastructure equipment
The tourism education

The country holds a remarkable physical potential and, sometimes exceptional. This is constituting his main touristic attractions. These assets could contribute to improve the population living conditions, if they are developed and marketed in a sustainable development perspective.

Like the other CEMAC countries, that shows the desire the Government should diversify the economy, particularly in tourism. A very ambitious objective to ensure this diversification is this sector tends to contribute to the national economy, around 10% of GDP.

OBJECTIVESII.1.Global Objective.

The first national tourism conferences in the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville aims to provide a privileged moment of exchange and discussion between the main actors, both national and international, interested in the sector with the view to allow the government to put the bases of the implementation of its politics.

II.2. Specific Objectives

Define the blue fund
Present the objectives of the blue fund
Present the benefits of ecotourism
Demonstrate the inherent benefits and impacts of blue fund funding for eco-touristic activities.

III- GOAL OF THE PANEL

The creation of a blue fund by the countries of the Congo Basin is an initiative to strengthen the ecosystem approach to integrated the forest and the waters of the basin management. Ecotourism, that allows the valorization of protected areas and the local culture, could benefit from this fund for the success of its activities.

IV- EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The Blue Fund and its objectives are known.
The ecotourism benefits are known.
The impact of Blue Fund funding for ecotourism activities is defined

VII- TIMETABLE

The panelists should send their file one month before the conference’s opening date.

VIII- PANELIST PROFIL

The panelist must be an authority or a high-level manager, responsible of the issues related to ecotourism, sustainable development, management of the Blue Fund or the Green Fund.