A training workshop to finalize the Sustainable Tourism Management Plan for Comoros was held for the national team on 13 and 14 July 2021, as part of the project "Capacity Building in Sustainable Tourism Development and Management for World Heritage in Comoros" funded by the Netherlands Fund-In-Trust to UNESCO, organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa in collaboration with the National Center for Documentation and Scientific Research (CNDRS) in Comoros. The hybrid workshop was led online by the sustainable tourism expert Ms. Dominique Verdugo with the physical participation of around 40 participants from the three main islands of the Comoros: Anjouan, Moheli and Grande Comore.
This workshop followed a mapping of cultural and natural heritage assets as well as a first training workshop carried out from 2 to 5 November 2020, which guided the development of a sustainable tourism development and management plan for Comoros.
“This project aims to strengthen the capacity of key Comorian stakeholders to use the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Toolkit, expertise and other resources of the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Programme to develop a sustainable tourism management plan for the Comorian cultural sector and implementation strategy, and to implement training activities for local guides in the Historical Sultanate of the Comoros,” said Ms. Karalyn Monteil, Programme Specialist for Culture at UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa.
The workshop was opened by Dr. Toiwilou Mze Hamadi, Director General of the CNDRS, who thanked UNESCO and the Netherlands for their contribution to this project. In her opening remarks, Ms. Wahidat Hassani, Director General of Arts and Culture for the Union of Comoros, stressed that this project provides an opportunity to advocate for policies and frameworks in Comoros that support sustainable tourism as an important means of cultural and natural heritage management.
On the first day of the workshop, Dr. Mze introduced the context of the meeting noting how this Tourism Management Plan will strengthen the conservation and management plan currently under preparation for the Historic Sultanates of the Comoros, which is a serial site on the World Heritage Tentative List for Comoros. Mr. Cheihani Said Abdallah, a Cartographer and coordinator of the project, presented the draft Sustainable Tourism Management Plan and the mapping of cultural and natural resources in Comoros. The national team for the project reviewed and validated the tourism development analysis, which took into consideration the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of tourism in the sites of the Historical Sultanates of the Comoros as well as the strategic objectives of the plan.
On the second day, Ms. Dominique Verdugo, together with members of the national team, discussed the elaboration of a common vision for tourism development in the Historic Sultanates of the Comoros and reflected on the marketing approach for tourism development.
Through the development of this Sustainable Tourism Plan, key stakeholders in the Union of Comoros, including national authorities, site managers and local communities, will have a strategic and reliable cooperation framework for sustainable tourism development while safeguarding heritage and achieving sustainable economic development.
For more information on the UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme, please see: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tourism/