Madrid, 17 June 2017 – HE the Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism of the Federal Government of Somalia, Abdirahman Omar Osman (Engineer Yarisow), yesterday, 16 June 2017 met with the Secretary General of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UN WTO), HE Taleb D. Refai, along with his deputy and the UN WTO Director of Africa at UN WTO Headquarters in Madrid, Spain.
HE the Minister of Information, together with his Advisor on Tourism, Mr Yasir Baffo, provided an update on the history and current potential for the tourism industry in Somalia. HE the Minister of Information commented: “Even though Somalia is still improving security in order to bring peace and stability back to the country, nevertheless, as Federal Government of Somalia we need to lay down the foundations, strategies and plans that are necessary to revive the tourism industry so that in the next few years, when the country becomes peaceful, we won’t waste any time attracting tourists and foreign investment back into the country. And that is why we are in the process of introducing a Master-plan to revive our tourism industry and, at the same time, become a member of UN WTO.”
HE Taleb D. Refai welcomed HE the Minister of Information and assured him that UN WTO will do all it can to help Somalia plan ahead so that the country will be able to attract tourists, especially since it is so strategically located on the Horn of Africa. The UN WTO has agreed to facilitate Somalia becoming a member so that it can benefit from the experience, the technical expertise, and the existing networks of other member states.
HE the Minister of Information commented: “Somalis are natural entrepreneurs and in Mogadishu alone there are over 100 travel agencies as well as a number of locally owned private airlines. Fly Dubai and Ethiopian Airlines fly to Hargeisa while Turkish Airlines fly daily to and from Mogadishu. The tourism industry is fast growing, which helps job creation, cultural exchanges and economic growth that Somalia is so desperately in need of right now.”
HE the Minister of Information concluded: “In order for Somalia to reduce poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, we need to think outside of the box and to come up with ways the country can attract investment to boost its economy. Somalis are nomadic people and an oral society who love travel, as we have seen Somali Diaspora travelling all over the world. We have also seen the Somali business community’s efforts to introduce new initiatives and also how busy Somali airports are already. Now is the right time to introduce a master-plan for tourism in preparation for the inevitable stability and peace. It is the right time to become a member of UN TWO in order to benefit from them rather than re-inventing the wheel.”
Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism