The meeting of the Steering Committee of the Regional Project on Sustainable Tourism Development in a Network of Cross-Border Parks and Protected Areas in West Africa was held on 6 February 2009 in Madrid, Spain, at the invitation of the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The representatives of UNWTO, the research firm Secheresse Consultants, the countries included in the project and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), participated in the meeting. The OIC have been represented by its General Secretariat, the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) and the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT).
The research firm presented the report regarding phase 1 of the study pertaining to the diagnostic assessment. Following this presentation, remarks, observations and suggestions were made by the participants.
Besides congratulating the research firm “Sécheresse Consultants” on the quality of the study and of the documents presented, it was observed that some available data and also the work on some potential parks and protected areas are missed within the report.
The meeting participants raised their own recommendations on the subject. Some of these recommendations are:
The research firm should organize three sub regional meetings in March 2009, with the participation of all project’s national focal points.
The study should include hunting tourism, community-based tourism, solidarity tourism, mountain tourism, sport fishing, etc.
The countries in collaboration with the stakeholders and media (print media, radio, television) may organize, seminars, conferences, awareness-raising workshops regarding the project, targeting decision makers, administrations in charge of tourism and the environment, academic circles, operators and funding institutions and participate on 15-19 April 2009 in the forum on Tourism Development in Islamic countries, which will be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), at the invitation of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Burkina Faso may be included in the group of beneficiary countries of the project. This country shares the W Park with Benin and Niger, and has been visited in on - site inspection visit made by Secheresse team.