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Building a brave new world: Highlights from Africa’s Travel Indaba, 2019

Appreciating the beauty of Africa, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at length about various initiatives that need to be taken to enhance guest experiences

During his address at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “In today’s world, Tourism is the New Gold. African countries are taking the lead in sustainable tourism and eco-tourism. We need to expand tourism in our continent, to contribute to economic growth, to increase our foreign earnings, and to boost related industries.” He emphasised that tourism is not only associated with pleasure motives, but it can also embrace business, education, health or religion as a basis for travelling. 
Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa is looking to welcome 21 million international tourists by 2030 from the current 10.5 million. He added, “We have set ourselves a bold target to raise over $100 billion in new investment over five years. Tourism plays a critical role in that strategy. In South Africa, the annual growth rate of tourism is currently exceeding the goals in our national tourism strategy and it is expected to grow even further.”
He further said, “Tourism is one of the most international of industries for it is an industry that tends to showcase a country’s identity and offerings to the world.”
He said to enhance guest experiences, there are many challenges to overcome. He mentioned ten issues that need attention:

  • To streamline tourist visa regimes and overhauling visa dispensation for tourists and introducing a world-class e-visa system.
  • To deal with crime and counter the perception that Africa is an unsafe tourism destination, by introducing initiatives like Tourism Police in Uganda.
  • To promote domestic tourism and get the citizens of our countries to travel and see the beauty of their own countries.
  • To seek out private sector partners for the establishment of new tourism products and offerings. To do this, it is must to forge stronger public-private partnerships.
  • Tourism must be seen as each country’s combined national effort to enhance Inter-governmental cooperation between different departments and agencies. 
  • To develop organisational systems and the provision of a supporting infrastructure of facilities and personnel able to run the tourism business. 
  • To position this industry as a key empowering sector of the economy whose power should be unleashed and used to change the lives of people in urban and rural areas.
  • To be aspirationally united to build and brand Africa as a continent of success that will shine as a tourist destination.
  • To embrace technology in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. Artificial intelligence, blockchain and the internet of things require that our tourism offerings must be well-aligned with enveloping technologies. 
  • To drive-up the standards, competitiveness and the quality of our domestic tourism industry based on international benchmarks.
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