Mali plans to develop new tourism products

Updated: 2012-10-24 18:28


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BAMAKO - Mali's Handicrafts and Tourism Minister Ousmane Ag Rhissa has said the government has adopted new policies that will promote and develop new tourism sites in the southern parts of the country in order to make Mali "a preferred tourism destination in the world".

The minister made the declaration on Tuesday when he addressed about 120 Malian artisans who are set to attend the 13th edition of the Ouagadougou Arts and Crafts Trade Show (SIAO), scheduled to take place between Oct 24 to Nov 4 in Burkina Faso. The workshop will be held under the theme "Handicraft and Economic Emergence".

According to Rhissa who recently attended the first Pan-African conference on sustainable tourism in Africa's national parks that ended on Oct 19 in Tanzania, "Mali will get the support of the World Tourism Organization to develop her tourism sector."

He said the ongoing political crisis in northern Mali should be used as an opportunity to develop tourism "since other countries like Cyprus, Croatia and Cambodia managed to develop their tourism sector during crises".

Rhissa noted that contrary to the southern African countries that develop their tourism around natural resources, his country's tourism is based on the historical sites.

He however pointed out his ministry will develop the same policies for preservation, protection and management of natural resources in order to develop this kind of tourism in Mali.

While addressing the concerns of the 120 artisans including 40 from northern Mali, who will be attending the 13th edition of SIAO, Rhissa pointed out "their transportation cost as well as the payment for their stands during the trade fair will be fully taken care of by the Malian government".