Three Cities, Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos have been confirmed as host cities for the inaugural Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, scheduled to take place from September 19 to 21, 2021.
The Sandton Convention Centre, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre and the Marriot Lagos Ikeja are the venues to host the event’s numerous panel discussions, workshops and talks.
A news brief said the event, centred on the theme, “Re-awakening Africa,” called on all tourism players throughout the continent and all the global tourism friends and partners to reflect, reimagine and reignite the sector in a world still ravaged by COVID-19.
It said the pandemic might have dented the sector in the last 19 months, but it presented tourism with an opportunity to create something new.
“In the case of the Summit, South African Tourism has organised a hybrid event, meaning it is held both physically and virtually and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.”
The news brief said the Summit included an eclectic mix of topics that ranged from how to ease travel across borders on the continent to packaging African travel in a post-COVID world, all with the overarching message that Africa was open for business.
Ms Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer, South African Tourism, said the Summit presented Africa with the opportunity to create a platform that would demonstrate the continent’s tenacity in rebuilding the tourism sector through knowledge and partnerships.
“We must remember that African tourism belongs to all 54 nations on the continent. It means tourism stakeholders from each of these countries can come together to find ways of making travel to our continent easier and more inviting to global tourists.”
The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says the tourism industry is unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels until 2023 or later. Additionally, the World Travel and Tourism Council reported that Africa’s tourism sector experienced an exponential decrease of US$83-billion (R1.2-trillion) and a loss of 7.2-million jobs in 2020.
Despite these setbacks, Ms Kotze-Nhlapo, remained upbeat about the sector’s future, saying, “Governments across Africa, as well as the African Union, are ensuring a steady rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. In South Africa, government is implementing the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan that seeks to restore the tourism economy and recover lost jobs. These are signs that Africa is gearing up for tourism. The Summit will go a long way in showcasing to the world Africa’s readiness to welcome tourists within the continent and abroad”.
She said a novel feature of the hybrid Summit was that one could personalise the sessions they wished to attend in any of the three host cities and that delegates outside Africa could also design their schedules according to their time zone, so that they could also be a part of the Summit and benefit from all it had to offer.
Ms Kotze-Nhlapo said delegates could choose to attend the Summit physically or virtually, however, physical attendance was limited and not guaranteed, and all venues would adhere to strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“You can select sessions using the Business Matchmaking tool. It will also match you with the right delegates for one-on-one sessions based on the information you have provided in your profile, thus creating a great opportunity to connect and share knowledge with fellow industry stakeholders. Register now for Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit and be a part of a new, reawakened Africa.”