At South African Tourism summit, participants seek continental regeneration
Channelled towards creating a property that will demonstrate and highlight the African continent tenacity and holistic abilities, South African Tourism has hosted the first ever Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit tagged ‘Re-awakening Africa’
The inaugural edition, which took place from September 19 to 21, attracted tourism players in the continent and the world who were charged to reflect on revisiting and rekindling the sector in a world still impacted by COVID-19.
The hybrid event, which saw delegates from Durban, Johannesburg and Lagos, the Nigeria edition of Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit drew over 130 participants from the travel trade, stakeholders and media.
During the three-day event, trade partners shared insights and ideas towards collaborative efforts by African countries that can lead to the recovery and growth of the tourism sector. Some of the key topics discussed at the summit included reestablishing demand in the source markets, aviation, streamlining visas, tourist development, innovation, technology, and the health and safety obligations in a post COVID-19 era.
A highlight from the summit was the agreement that if Africa was to become a favoured destination, travellers would need to be guaranteed of health and safety protocols in lieu of COVID-19 and that the combined African infrastructure, internet connectivity, basic water and electricity supply and our roads must remain stable.
South African Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, said the continent’s tenacity and holistic ability is needed to be a springboard to restart and rebuild the tourism sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic through knowledge and partnerships.
In her keynote address, South African Minister for Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, said that greater collaboration among tourism role-players is required and they would need to be flexible enough to adjust to the changing business landscape.
“As we embark on new ways of doing business and hosting the peoples of the world, let’s draw lessons from the experiences of the pandemic and ensure that our business ways are more robust and agile for future sustainability. It is therefore important that we are aligned as a continent whilst reigniting the tourism industry. This is crucial to gain momentum within the sector, as it works towards an inclusive recovery.”
Thekiso Rakolojane, Hub Head, South African Tourism, West Africa, welcomed various representatives to the ground-breaking initiative and expressed his excitement to see trade partners, stakeholders, and media to discuss how to engage and operate in the new normal and developments, adding that South African Tourism strategy is about opening up regional travel to make way for tourism in the continent.
“In line with the strategy, as we are now positioned to engage across the continent to look at ways and means of how to synergise and collaborate, through destination marketing, airlines and other brand activities in order to position us as a continent to various source markets.”