Rebuilding Tourism in East Africa as a single destination

By Angela Njehia, Tierranjani Africa

(Posted 21st February 2022)

Over the past 2 years uncertainties and disruptions brought upon by the COVID – 19 saw the tourism sector adversely being affected.  Due to the negative impacts on the East African tourism sector, there was a need for concerted effort among the EAC Partner States in redesigning our tourism sector strategies and policies. The EAC therefore outlined measures that would be implemented to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic and planning for recovery of the sector with a focus on the domestic and regional markets.

One of the strategies undertaken has been that of building capacity for the sector which aligns with the EAC Tourism Recovery strategy where Human Capacity Development is highlighted as a key corrective strategy in to the recovery process and thus the need to train and develop the skills of various stakeholder groups in the tourism sector value chain.

In November of 2021, EAC Secretariat in partnership with East African Tourism Platform (EATP) sponsored by Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),  launched a capacity building programme under the “Support to East African Market-Driven and People-Centred Integration” programme (SEAMPEC), which supports the East African Community (EAC) integration process that focuses on the needs of the private sector as well as on social aspects. The project implementing consultants are Tierranjani Africa, a boutique sustainable tourism consultancy firm based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The project kicked off with a pilot survey in October 2021 at the 1st East African Tourism Fair in Arusha, followed by a series of East African tourism desk audits and lastly implementing a well researched training calendar.

The programme targeted stakeholders in the Tourism sector value chain, including MSMEs, youth, women, local communities, among others.  Tierranjani Africa with support from EATP have conducted the training through virtual, hybrid and in-person sessions and over 3000 participants from all EAC Partner States have attended.

I have attended the EAC/GIZ SEAMPEC in-person Capacity Building session. The session enabled me to grasp the real need for tour operators and other tourism stakeholders to understand both the local and regional markets, to develop affordable products and our synergy as a whole.” said Audace Ndabahawe a tour operator at Gisabo Tours in Burundi.

“It has impacted our business on an ongoing basis.  The training has articulated a paradigm shift and the possibility of designing attractive services and products for local and regional consumption,” he added.

Key areas of discussion have been; Understanding domestic and regional consumer behavior, tour guiding, sustainability, product development, pricing strategies and mastering the art of selling, digital marketing for tourism, responsible marketing and communication for domestic and regional markets, organizational development and assertive performance and Community based tourism.

The training has incorporated trainers across East Africa and the world with experience in different fields of tourism.  In his session on Digital Marketing for Tourism, Peter Fabricius a digital marketing consultant and co-founder of Springnest based in Cape Town, South Africa said, “In order for us to remain competitive, for you as a travel brand to still be around in a year or two selling travel, we need to adapt to new marketing segments in the digital world”.

As the curtains close down on the capacity building program, the team will be hosting a knowledge exchange platform dubbed the EAC-Africa Exchange Session On Tourism Recovery, this Tuesday 22nd February, 2022. The special session has an all-star studded list of guest speakers hailing from across Africa, all uniting with the purpose of strengthening Intra-Africa tourism. To sign up for the session;

When: Feb 22, 2022 10:00 AM EAT and 9.00 AM CAT

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUudemorDoiHtaffrRdCXtME_HGm1NJyGlw .

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. It will be interesting to see the impact of the capacity building unfold as East Africa works towards rebuilding the destination as a “one single destination”

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