April 10, 2021, Cape Town, South Africa - African Governments must work together to define a standardized travel protocol if tourism is to recover swiftly and deliver the economic benefits that are so critical for the continent.
This is the key message during African Tourism Investment Summit (ATIS), hosted by International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) and World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) at Africa Travel Week (ATW) which featured no fewer than 34 incredible ministerial and investment expert panel discussions and presentations. Among the speakers are:
Hon. Moses M. Vilakati, Minister of Tourism of Eswatini
Hon. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism, Sierra Leone
Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Kenya
Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, UK MP and Chair Commonwealth Parliamentary UK
Hon. Sofia Zacharaki, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Greece
Hon. Elena Kountoura, Member of European Parliament
Hon. Mary Masanja, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania
Dr. Taleb Rifai Chairman of ITIC & Former Secretary-General UNWTO
Hon. Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism Cote D’Ivoire
Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica
Hon. Minister David Maynier, Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Western Cape
Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
Hon. Clare Akamanzi, CEO Rwanda Development Board
Cuthbert Ncube, Chairman African Tourism Board
Marcus Lee, CEO China Travel Online
On the topic of investor confidence Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary, Kenya Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said this would only be achieved through collaboration. Minister Balala bemoaned the current narrative painted about Africa and variants, saying that red-listing countries and hoarding vaccines was not ‘healthy’.
ITIC Chair and former Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Dr Taleb Rifai said it would take some time for 70% of the world’s population to be vaccinated. Dr Taleb view was widely supported by the various ministers who joined the two-day event, with World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) President and CEO Gloria Guevara calling for an international mobility programme to deliver the certainty required for travel.
Marcus Lee, CEO China Travel Onlineshared during Branding and Marketing session, China have recovered about 95% since last year. Over 600 million Chinese travel domestically last October give a strong confident to the global market. There are major demographic shift in China outbound travel market that destination need to be aware of. "Do not wait until all is recovered then you start your promotion, it will be too late" Marcus said. It is important to stay engage right now. However, he also mentioned to pace your activities, for example, doing a Virtual roadshow now also too early.
Reiterating their support for Africa and willingness to enter into dialogue, Hon. Sofia Zacharaki, Greece Deputy Minister of Tourism said the country was invested in the promotion of “mutual tourism investments based on sustainability and environmental protection”, as well as “special initiatives supporting joint ventures between Greek and African businesses, a framework providing exchange of knowledge and the development of specialised and alternative forms of tourism”.
Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, UK MP and Chair Commonwealth Parliamentary, advocated for widespread access to vaccines and called for a “team effort” to get “tourism up and running” swiftly, while sounding a caution about variants.