By Staff Reporter
QWAQWA- 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.
Preparations are already at advance stage in the Free State, with media launch scheduled for August 25-27.
The aim of the tour, according to DESTEA, is to introduce media houses to various tourist attractions in the Free State ahead of Tourism Month.
According to a media statement from South Africa Tourism, 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, enthused 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,” Dlamini added.
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.
Meanwhile, the Free State head of department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ, says under this year’s theme is ‘Tourism for Inclusive growth’, “DESTEA has chosen Dihlabeng municipality and Maluti-A-Phofung (MAP) as the local municipalities to visit.”
He described the Golden Gate Highlands along with Clarens as the Free State’s biggest tourist attraction during this year’s World Tourism Day.
“We’d like to allow tourists to experience not only the Golden Gate Highlands and Clarens but also tourist attractions found in MAP.”