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ITB Berlin News 2018 - Review Edition

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38 AROUND THE WORLD

38 AROUND THE WORLD AFRICA JUST SIX HOURS AWAY FROM PARIS OR BRUSSELS, TOURISTS CAN EXPERIENCE AN AUTHENTIC AFRICAN CULTURE. Jean-Marie Somet General Manager Côte d’Ivoire Tourisme “Tourism to Côte d’Ivoire is Growing Again” Exclusive Interview : Jean-Marie Somet, General Manager Côte d’Ivoire Tourisme Côte d’Ivoire is coming back onto the world’s tourism stage and hopes now to turn business travellers to the country into leisure visitors, according to Jean-Marie Somet, General Manager Côte d’Ivoire Tourisme. 2017 was an excellent year for tourism to Côte d’Ivoire, according to Jean-Marie Somet, General Director of Côte d’Ivoire Tourisme. “We welcomed around 1.5 million tourists last year,” he stressed in an interview. While a majority of tourists are from Africa, particularly from Burkina Faso or Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire is confident to attract tourists from Europe again. “Just six hours away from Paris or Brussels, tourists can experience an authentic African culture. When I say culture, I should say 60 different ways to enjoy cultures due to our different ethnics and different customs. And of course, our natural resources are a major asset with our rainforests and its fauna,” he highlighted. For Somet, the tourist coming to Côte d’Ivoire will be able to discover the sense of party and festivities, the sense of family, music and gastronomy. CONFIDENCE IS BACK The country experienced an extraordinary turn-around over the past decade. Earlier in the decade, political turmoil had destabilised the economy and scared investors and travellers. “Violence tarnished our image. But after the country stabilised, we have been working a lot to address problems and give back to locals a sense of pride and confidence,” says Jean-Marie Somet. Since 2012, economy is growing again and investments are pouring in under the policy of current President, Allassane Ouattara. Priority has been given to infrastructure development while financial incentives have been introduced to attract investors. Ouattara’s vision is to have Côte d’Ivoire enter into the club of developing nations by 2020. The renewed safety of the destination has helped welcome large international events. “Last year tourism performance was boosted by international events such as Jeux de la Francophonie or the 5 th Summit African Union-European Union. We now wait for the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021, which is a major event for the entire continent,” explained Jean-Marie Somet. “The Africa Cup of Nations will also help boost our infrastructure by creating new roads, stadiums and construct hotels,” adds Somet. MOVING BEYOND BUSINESS TRAVEL Abidjan indeed remains the main attraction for business travellers. The country’s economic capital has many luxury and first class hotels, a convention centre with a capacity for 2,800 delegates and a state-ofthe art auditorium at Fondation Félix Houphouët Boigny with a capacity for 4,000 delegates. The city is becoming even more attractive as hotel projects by international chains - Radisson Blu, Hilton, Azalai or Mövenpick- are popping up. In air transport, Côte d’Ivoire just signed an agreement with Spain to have direct flights. New airlines flying to Abidjan are TAP Portugal to Lisbon as well as Ethiopian Airlines to New York. “We now want to take business travellers to new destinations and let them extend their stay to really enjoy our country beyond Abidjan. The Great Laguna south of Abidjan is perfect for seaside holidays and has many historical and cultural sightseeing. Our National Park Comoé is recognised as one of the best preserved in Africa where visitors can still observe many wild animals. Parc de Taï is another natural asset considered a true paradise for animals. And as I already mentioned we have 60 ethnics, which mean 60 ways for tourists to experience cultures!” stresses Jean-Marie Somet. Professionals will be able to learn more about Côte d’Ivoire achievements by participating in SITA, the International Tourism Exhibition of Abidjan. Hosted from April 27 to May 1, this travel show welcomes 25 countries, 260 exhibitors and 45,000 visitors. It is the largest travel exhibition organised in West Africa People of Côte d’Ivoire, Abiguiagna, Côte d’Ivoire ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018 www.itb-berlin-news.com

EUROPE AROUND THE WORLD 39 © Messe Berlin GmbH © Messe Berlin GmbH Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stand Manuela Schwesig, Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Dr. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in the beach chair during the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stand opening at ITB Berlin 2018 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Increases its International Profile Peaceful and romantic, with a new regional costume at ITB Berlin Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the partner region of this year’s ITB Berlin, presented a new range of tourism attractions at the show. Wolfgang Waldmüller, spokesman for the Tourism Association, presented the join-in festival SeaBorn in Kühlungsborn, the Rostock Cruise Festival, a new cycle route featuring the romantic aspects of Vorpommern and a new, sustainable form of accommodation by the name of sleeperoo. The federal state also unveiled plans for new regional costumes, to be created by none other than the fashion designer Jette Joop. 2,000 kilometers of Baltic coastline, 2,000 lakes and 2,000 hours of sunshine annually – just three good reasons for vacationing in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as Manuela Schwesig, the state’s Minister President pointed out on the Wednesday of ITB Berlin. “Our state is just the place for people seeking to escape from the stresses of everyday life and find themselves again”, said Schwesig. The state premier assured her audience that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is very proud to be the first of Germany’s federal states to feature as an ITB Berlin partner region. Harry Glawe, the Minister for Economic Affairs, stated the intention to use this year’s ITB Berlin as a way of making the state more widely known internationally. As part of this process two events will be taking place in Mecklenburg- Vorpommern over the next two years: the German Tourism Day 2019 and the German Travel Mart in 2020. Wolfgang Waldmüller, president of the Tourism Association, presented a whole range of new tourism attractions being offered by the state: They include the join-in festival SeaBorn in Kühlungsborn, the Rostock Cruise Festival, a new cycle route featuring the romantic aspects of Vorpommern and a new, sustainable form of accommodation by the name of sleeperoo. Within Germany the strongest competition that Mecklenburg- Vorpommern faces comes from the state of Bavaria. The rivalry between the two states is of a friendly nature, and Mecklenburg- Vorpommern is now seeking to raise its profile by developing its own regional costume. “What they can do in Bavaria we can do just as well”, said the designer Jette Joop, who was jointly responsible for creating suitable costumes SCHWERIN PALACE phanTECHNIKUM MINSTER BAD DOBERAN Schwerin Palace is located on an island in Lake Schwerin and is among the most important historicism edifices in Europe. Schwerin Palace is located on an island in Lake Schwerin and is among the most important historicism edifices in Europe. It was built between 1843 and 1857 in Neo-Renaissance style, commissioned by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, Frederick Franz II. A palace museum was established in the Grand Duke’s quarters in 1920. The parliament building of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has resided here since 1990. The palace museum shows sculptures, paintings and crafts, mainly from the 19th century. The castle park in the style of an English country garden, found on the palace island, stretches in the form of a terrace from the orangery and grotto to the lawns with their rare trees laid out by the banks The 2,500 sq m exhibition hall at the Technisches L a n d e s m u s e u m Mecklenburg-Vorpommern displays the technology and history of technology of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Organised according to the elements of fire, water and air, the interactive exhibition promises young and old an entertaining and educational time The High Gothic Cistercian monastery church from the 13 th century is seeking to be accepted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Minster in Bad Doberan is located along the European Route of Gothic Brickwork in north-east Germany, close to the old Hanseatic town of Rostock. The High Gothic Cistercian monastery church from the 13 th century is seeking to be accepted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. No other Cistercian monastery church can boast such an excellent preservation of original fixtures. Even with this wealth of exhibits, the high altar, the oldest winged altar in the history of art (around 1300), the monumental Lettner crucifixion altar (around 1360/70) and the grave sculpture of the Danish Queen Margarete Sambiria (+1282), remain particularly noteworthy ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018

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