#Africa must leverage its competitive advantage to drive tourism forward


(Posted 08th August 2019)

Continental representatives of the tourism sector will meet at Durban’s International Convention Centre in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal from 27th to 29th of August 2019 at the second annual African Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF).
Speakers and delegates to the ATLF will share their experiences, lessons learnt and best practice in building a pan-African tourism sector that is able to create jobs and grow communities while sharing the best that the continent has to offer to travellers from the continent and beyond.
Some of the esteemed speakers at the ATLF 2019 will include the United Nation World Tourism Organisation’s Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili; Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Marines in Seychelles, Didier Dogley; Minister of Tourism in Mauritius, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan; Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ronald Kaoma Chitotela; and KZN’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

Reflecting on the importance of such a gathering at a time when Africa is grappling with how to ensure young people in particular are not excluded from the labour market amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the UNWTO’s Zurab Pololikashvili urged delegates to “dream boldly about the future of the continent and tourism’s place in that picture. Delegates must then put in place the plans which can be incrementally implemented to achieve this vision.”

Research shows that despite the enormous potential in Africa, the continent has not been able to leverage these competitive strengths for its developmental objectives. Mauritius and Seychelles are two countries which have been able to do this successfully. In this regard, Minister Didier Dogley from Seychelles said, “Building a successful tourism sector amidst other challenges is not always easy but it can be done with focus and consistency. I am hopeful that the Seychelles experience can inspire others in the sector.” At the same time, Mauritius’s Minister Anil Kumarsingh Gayan said, “Similar to Seychelles, Mauritius has built a thriving tourism industry which includes bringing all stakeholders together. We are also able to leverage relations with corporate partners in other countries to create packages that make it seamless to travel to Mauritius. I will be available to share this experience with delegates to the ATLF.”

The tourism industry has to necessarily consider sustainability especially as the realities of climate change become increasingly apparent. The SADC region cannot for instance ignore, the real threat it faces as a water scarce region. In this regard, Zambia’s Ronald Kaoma Chitotela says, “Africa has so much to offer the world. It is time that as Africa we begin to work together to promote our continent as a competitive tourism destination. The ATLF 2019 will bring many players in the sector together and we should use this platform to begin to craft implementable plans to achieve our overall objective.”

The continent is on the rise – it is indeed Africa’s time. The recent signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement provides the impetus for the sector to look at how to create the conditions for the free movement of goods, services and people both within the continent and beyond. We must not 2 lose this moment,” concluded Mr Kwakye Donkor, CEO of African Tourism Partners, which together with the KZN Government is hosting the 2019 ATFL.

Register now https://www.tourismleadershipforum.africa/registration-form/ Or contact the Registration Hotline on +27 (0)81 303 7030