MONTRÉAL, 11 February 2014 – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) welcomed ministers and senior officials from Quebec, Morocco and other ICAO Member States earlier this month for a unique High-Level Economic Forum on Morocco’s growing potential as a travel and tourism hub.
Based on the theme of: “Morocco: An Engine for Regional and Continental Development”, the special one-day event was organized by His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco with assistance by the North African State’s Canadian Embassy. High-level dignitaries present included Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism for Morocco, Nouzha Chekrouni, Morocco’s Ambassador to Canada, Pascal Bérubé, Quebec Minister of Tourism, and Raymond Benjamin, ICAO Secretary General. Also in attendance were Ben Harouna Ibrahim, Burkina Faso’s Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador Goutondji Comlan Pamphile of the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Nancy N'diaye Ngom of Senegal and Ambassador Traore Ami Diallo of Mali.
The event was in line with the recent agreements signed between ICAO and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which seek to place renewed focus on the symbiotic relationship of tourism and air transport and the significant economic contributions they make to local, regional and global GDP.
“Enhancing air transport connectivity is directly supportive of ICAO’s policy objectives,” stressed ICAO Secretary General Benjamin in his opening remarks, “as it supports improved market access for businesses and greater tourism destinations for passengers. These priorities were clearly recommended by the 2013 ICAO Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference and we will be continuing, through events such as this, ICAO’s Air Services Negotiations (ICAN) events each year, and in many other areas, to liberalize the economic aspects of our sector and foster greater innovation and profitability in air transport.”
“Morocco was very grateful to ICAO for its provision of facilities and logistical support to assist with this important event,” noted Minister of Tourism for Morocco, Lahcen Haddad. “There are many synergies to be exploited in the tourism and transport sectors and we made some valuable inroads at this event into how Morocco can become an even more valuable contributor to Africa’s economic prosperity in the years ahead.”