Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos have been confirmed as host cities for the inaugural Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, taking place from 19-21 September 2021. The Sandton Convention Centre, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre and the Marriot Lagos Ikeja are the venues that will host the event’s numerous panel discussions, workshops and TED talks.
Centred on the theme of Re-awakening Africa, the Summit calls on all tourism players throughout the continent to reflect, reimagine and reignite the sector in a world still ravaged by Covid-19.
The Summit includes an mix of topics that ranges 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 is open for business.
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer at South African Tourism, says the Summit presents Africa with the opportunity to create a platform that will 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 those 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 Organisation (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$83bn (R1.2t) and a loss of 7.2 million jobs in 2020.
Despite these setbacks, Kotze-Nhlapo remains upbeat about the sector’s future. “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.”