The Department of Tourism and South African Tourism will host the first ever Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, which is set to take place from 19th to 21st September 2021, coinciding with Tourism Month in South Africa.
Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit aims to be a catalyst for engagement on the current state of tourism on the African continent. Taking into account challenges facing the global tourism industry, Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit will, through various engagement sessions, gather the tourism sector to share insights and ideas to explore collaborative efforts that can lead to recovery.
With an array of issues currently facing the sector, Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit aims to attract African community delegates, African Tourism Ministers, industry Associations, Tourism Boards, Destination Marketing Organisations as well as various partners across the tourism value chain.
Some of the major topics for discussion at the Summit include aviation, innovation, technology, the health and safety protocols currently in place, as well as the continent’s positioning post the COVID-19 pandemic for the African continent.
SA Tourism’s Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, highlighted that the African continent is resilient and that this Summit is important as it will contribute towards picking up the momentum within the sector, as it works towards an inclusive recovery.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have dealt tourism, both business and leisure tourism, a heavy blow, but we are now in the recovery phase, and a summit of this nature is critical in ensuring that we are aligned as a continent whilst reigniting the tourism industry,” says Dlamini.
The Summit will be hosted in a hybrid format, over a two-day period. Delegates will have the option of attending virtually, or at identified venues across South Africa, or at three additional locations on the rest of the African continent, pending COVID-19 lockdown regulations. All venues will have COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place.
“We have opted for the hybrid format in order for us, as a continent, to lead the way in demonstrating how tourism can be enjoyed safely whilst adhering to health protocols. It is important that we are diligent in reigniting the sector, as it contributes significantly to the African economy,” adds Dlamini.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism as well as South African Tourism were not able to host the MICE-focused Meetings Africa and leisure-focused Africa’s Travel Indaba 2021 editions which usually take place in February and May annually.
While Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit should not be seen as a replacement, it does provide a platform to showcase the African continent’s leisure tourism offerings and business event capabilities.
“In the absence of Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2020 and 2021, Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit is an innovative initiative for promoting intra-Africa tourism and also for sharing insights into the “state of readiness” for South Africa and the rest Africa to welcome the world during and post-COVID-19 pandemic,” says Kwakye Donkor, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Tourism Partners.
“I commend South African Tourism and the South African National Convention Bureau, for once again, showing commitment and leadership in tourism promotion across the continent. It will be so great to meet traditional and emerging trade partners again during the Summit. Well done to Team South Africa Tourism! We look forward to a very fruitful Summit,” concluded Donkor.
The SA Tourism Acting CEO also emphasised that Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit will act as a think tank for the continent, creating a platform for Africa’s tourism leaders to create solutions for Africa and contribute to global solutions for the industry.
Committed to ongoing transformation and development of the South African tourism industry, Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit will feature a dedicated day to empower SMMEs in the sector on 19 September 2021, as a precursor to the two-day conference which takes place on 20th and 21st September 2021.
Open to delegates from all countries, this Summit is an invitation to the world to join in as the African continent not only gears itself for recovery, but also to share in the African story.