Officially opening a four-day planning workshop on this theme here on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Samuel Rathedi, said heritage sites were among unexplored opportunities of improving the livelihoods of communities, noting that such sites in Africa were situated in rural areas where they formed people's belief systems.
said there was need for pragmatic means to address poverty and contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
said conservation and preservation of cultural heritage through tourism depended on all sectors of the society.
There was thus a need for a strong framework on the part of government and a commitment at local and institutional levels to ensure policy implementation.
"I am convinced that you will consider local relevance and stakeholder participation so that intended projects meet local ownership and impact positively on livelihoods," he
Heritage sites in Africa continued to receive an increasing inflow of visitors, he
As a result, it was important to identify and address challenges affecting the sustainability of these sites and to ensure that part of the proceeds from tourism were channeled back to support conservation efforts and to improve livelihoods.
said the workshop had come at a time when heritage experts and practitioners were emphasising on utilising tourism to support preservation of heritage sites while promoting sustainable development on the African continent.
In the National Development Plan 10, he
said, government stated that to expand cultural heritage tourism, community-based initiatives would be strongly supported so that local communities may get more involved in travel and tourism, he
It further says that local communities will be encouraged to utilise natural resources in their areas and to be fully involved in the development and promotion of cultural tourism.
"The government remains committed to the ideals of the African World Heritage Fund, for example, to support the preservation of sites on the African continent," he
urged participants to share and learn from one anothers experiences of managing heritage sites and to come up with models of jointly leveraging economic potential from the sites.