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Cape Town Tourism will continue to build on the city’s tourism success

Cape Town Tourism’s service level agreement (SLA) has been expanded for another year by the City of Cape Town. The partnership will incur ongoing success and development enhancements in areas of responsibility, providing tourism experiences across the greater Cape Town to the benefit of the local tourism industry.
The agreement has led to extensive collaborative projects, particularly within the areas of responsible tourism, universal access in tourism, visitor safety and in counteracting seasonality in the sector, in addition to the primary responsibilities of tourism marketing and visitor services.

Providing detailed information for visitors

In practice, this means marketing the city’s attractions, experiences, accommodation and people across a variety of platforms including digital, social media and traditional media. Cape Town Tourism provides a wealth of detailed information for visitors to explore the city more, to ensure that their experiences are consistently world-class.

Cape Town Tourism also represents the city at trade shows and on other trade marketing platforms, to showcase what’s on offer and attract more visitors. This, with a view to expand the market locally, regionally and globally to key markets, which include the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Far East, as well as on the rest of the African continent ¬ – this includes promoting Cape Town as a destination and also identifying opportunities and potential partnerships.

Cape Town Tourism is a membership organisation comprising almost 1,300-member businesses, which include all tourism or tourism related businesses ranging from SMMEs to large multinational organisations.

Promoting and growing the tourism industry

As the city’s primary tourism organisation, Cape Town Tourism conducts extensive research into the economic value of tourism as well as visitor perceptions.

“We have long enjoyed working with the honorable mayor and her team as well as all those who represent the tourism industry in Cape Town in promoting this fantastic destination and ensuring that all expectations are met and exceeded for our visitors; it’s an honour that this working relationship is set to continue,” says Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism.

“Cape Town Tourism is doing vital work in growing and promoting an important industry that employs thousands of residents each year. The city and its tourism partners are working together to enhance our tourism offering and build a resilient industry that attracts tourists from the rest of Africa and abroad all year round. This agreement will assist us in building on the success of the past few years while the industry supports skills development for our residents and drives economic inclusion for all our communities,”
says Patricia de Lille, executive mayor, City of Cape Town.Cape Town Tourism encourages locals to extensively explore the city and to make use of the city’s resources on offer, and treat visitors well to ensure the ongoing growth of the tourism sector.

Source: bizcommunity

How sustainable tourism is rising in Africa

Africa is the fastest growing tourist destination. It offers a rich mélange of culture, heritage and natural wonders which draw tourists from all over the world. From rich forests to barren deserts and unmatched wildlife, Africa has everything to offer. However, constant tourism can put a huge strain on the resources, leading to its rapid depletion.

The beautiful continent has already started coming up with new and improved means to counter depletion and make way for sustainable tourism. It has adopted a four-pronged approach to containing the damage caused by some of the major aspects of tourism.

Sustainable agriculture

With more and more tourists visiting the continent, the need for production of food has been rapidly on a rise. This has resulted in practices which improve production but also lead to depletion of resources. To counter this, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003.
This aims to allot at least 10 percent of the budget to agriculture. This promotes sustainable practices while also causing a growth in production. Crop rotation, use of natural fertilisers, drip cultivation and rainwater harvesting are encouraged. It is estimated that over the next decade, the production of food will increase to the point of solving a majority of the hunger issue of the continent while reducing wastage and damage to the planet.

Green initiatives by hotels

A number of African hotels are adopting green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve their resources. From planting more trees to recycling and harvesting rainwater to convert it into drinking water, the tourism industry of Africa is going the extra mile to conserve the continent and its precious resources. Some hotels have discarded conventional sources of electricity and opted for solar power.
It has been seen that the green initiatives adopted by the hotels have resulted in greater footfall which acts as a huge incentive for more and more hotels to join the movement. Hotels in countries like South Africa, Egypt, Madagascar, etc. have managed to make an actual and substantial contribution towards the protection of their country’s resources by adopting sustainable means.

Energy efficient tourism

The recent years have seen a huge rise in eco-tourism. Here travellers are offered all the basic comfort and amenities but there is barely any extravagance. It is true that it offers minimum luxury but maximum experience is what one takes back. This is a very useful model of tourism which minimises the damages that are associated with tourism. Solar energy is the primary source of energy while traditional materials and sustainable practices are implemented in order to conserve. African countries are now actively promoting eco-tourism in a bid to offer tourists an authentic African experience as well as to reduce the energy consumption.

Waste management

It is a known fact that tourism produces quite a lot of waste. Right from food waste to plastic water bottles, the amount of waste that is a direct result of the tourism industry is staggering. To manage the problem of waste, governments have started taking active steps to promote segregation and treatment of wastes to promote a more sustainable model.
There are talks of converting biodegradable waste into biofuel, while on the other hand recycling is given an extra push in order to reduce the quantity of non-biodegradable waste. Segregated waste baskets have been installed at various popular tourist spots and also in cities and hotels. The waste management sector has done a great job in improving sustainable tourism in the continent.
As tourism is increasing, various African governments are gearing up for a greater footfall without causing a strain on their resources. They have been taking active steps to build a sustainable model of tourism and it is their relentless, challenging work that is putting Africa on the road to a completely sustainable development.

Source: bizcommunity

Africa Tourism: partnering for the future

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) announced today that registration is now open for the 37th Annual World Congress, to be held from May 18-22, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, one of the world’s top natural wonders and adventure capitals. ATA’s hallmark event on the African continent will be hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) under the auspices of the Honorable Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi. The theme of this year’s event is “Africa Tourism: Partnering for the Future.”

Delegates can register for the five-day travel industry event online at ATA’s website: http://africatravelassociation.org/congress_reg.html or call +1-212-447-1357. Special early bird rates for ATA members and students are available until April 30 at $400. After this date, ATA members can register for $500. Non-member registration fee is $600.

Among the expected 300 participants, are tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators, and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels. Participants from the travel trade media and the corporate, nonprofit, and academic sectors are also expected to attend, along with African Diaspora representatives and ATA’s Young Professionals Program participants.

Zimbabwe is home to a diverse range of tourist attractions, including its own seven wonders: (1) people and culture, (2) history and heritage, (3) Great Zimbabwe (grand medieval palace), (4) Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya), (5) wildlife and nature, (6) Eastern Highlands, and (7) Lake Kariba. Delegates will sample some of these wonders during the Host Country Day and by participating in pre- and post-congress tours.

The ATA International Board of Directors meeting will be held on Friday, May 18. Saturday, May 19, begins with sessions focusing on Destination Zimbabwe, followed by an opening ceremony with cultural entertainment. The next few days include ample networking, learning, and professional development panels and workshops, addressing industry topics, such as community-based travel, agro-tourism, academic travel, faith-based tourism, e-tourism, marketing, branding, private sector investment, women and tourism, sustainable tourism, and African culinary products. Delegates will also participate in roundtables for tourism ministers, a media marketplace, networking events, host country day(s), and gala dinners. Zimbabwe will also organize a marketplace, featuring art, sculpture, and daily excursions in Victoria Falls. The event will close on Tuesday, May 22. Pre- and post-congress excursions and trips will be available to delegates.

The Congress will take place at the Elephant Hills Resort, www.elephanthillshotel.com , in Victoria Falls. The venue offers special accommodation rates for delegates. Special rates are also available at other hotels in Victoria Falls for delegates at http://africatravelassociation.org/events/ac.html .

PRESENTING SPONSOR AND OFFICIAL AIRLINE

South African Airways, Presenting Sponsor and Official Airline of the 2012 ATA World Congress, has organized special discounts for delegates attending the ATA World Congress in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. For travelers originating from one of SAA’s US gateways (New York City or Washington DC), there are discounts of 10 percent off of most published fares. For delegates traveling from one of SAA’s African or other international gateways, discounts of between 5 to 15 percent off of most published fares are available. For more information on SAA and their international gateways, please visit www.flysaa.com.

Source: eturbonews

Climate change could leave South African tourism high and dry

Towards the end of each year hundreds of thousands of people escape dark, cold, rainy winters in Europe and North America for a break in sunny South Africa“.

Many are drawn by the country’s wide array of outdoor attractions: nature reserves, beaches and adventure activities like skydiving and water sports. All of these are reliant on prolonged pleasant weather conditions. And, for now, South Africa delivers just that.

But climate change could place the country’s booming tourism sector – which contributes more than R100 billion to the GDP each year – at risk.

A range of research we have conducted suggests that climate change will badly compromise the sector. In one province, the Eastern Cape, sea levels will rise so much by 2050 that properties in popular tourist haunts might be flooded if adaptation measures are not implemented.

Weather changes are inevitable

The sub-Saharan region will likely be hit hard by climate change. It will experience temperature increases above the average global rate. Extreme weather events will become more common and the region’s rainfall patterns are set to change. Some areas will experience increased rainfall and a heightened flood risk, while others are projected to experience a decrease in rainfall and become more drought prone.

South Africa and other countries on the continent such as Mozambique, Morocco and Egypt, whose tourism sectors also rely on good weather, need to act urgently to navigate the choppy waters of climate change.

Mapping the problem

These concerns led us to initiate a pilot study that explored climate change threats to the tourism sector in two small coastal Eastern Cape towns. The study used Digital Elevation Models that map future sea levels relative to the land surface. These maps explored the potential impact of rising sea levels to the towns’ accommodation establishments by 2050 and then again by 2100.

Our results indicate that the worst effects will be experienced by 2050. The models suggest that 23 guesthouses which immediately border the coastline and one town’s canal will be flooded by this time.

We also calculated the Tourism Climatic Index scores for the two towns based on climate data from the past 30 years. The index incorporates a range of meteorological variables which influence human comfort and aesthetic pleasure. This serves as a measure of a location’s climatic suitability for tourism in future.

We also interviewed people: 52 tourists and 53 accommodation establishment owners. The owners expressed a significant concern for tourists’ comfort in changing climatic conditions. Many told us they’d installed air conditioning units and organised indoor activities to deal with higher temperatures or rainfall. But rising sea levels were perceived as far too distant a problem to require immediate intervention. Many of the owners didn’t believe it would pose a threat within their lifetime.

Widening the lens

After we’d completed the pilot study we initiated a broad-based analysis of Tourism Climatic Index scores which included 18 locations distributed relatively evenly across South Africa.

This study confirmed the widely held perception that South Africa has particularly suitable weather conditions for tourism. All of the locations returned annual scores within the international classification of “Excellent” to “Ideal”.

For most locations, climates are most suitable in spring and autumn: winters are too cold and summers too hot. Cape Town is particularly suitable for tourism summer, which is confirmed by peak tourist numbers during this season. The scores were low in winter because of a combination of cold temperatures, persistent cloud cover and a large number of rainy days.

The study also explored the factors within the index which contributed to lowering a location’s score. For all 18 locations, the factor was either rainfall or thermal comfort – how hot or cold a place was.

Although this model confirms that the climate is currently suitable for tourism, projected changes in these meteorological variables are bad news for South Africa’s tourism sector. Climate change will not only shift seasons, changing the start date of spring and summer and extending the duration of summer. It will also alter rainfall patterns and daily temperatures. These factors will result in a reduced climate suitability for tourism. So what can tourism bodies and individual establishments like hotels or guesthouses do to mitigate against these changes?

There is room for action

An improved understanding of how climate change threatens tourism is a good thing, no matter how gloomy our findings look. Understanding can improve the sector’s capacity for effective adaptation and mitigation.

Accurate, high resolution forecasts of specific climate change threats allow for well targeted measures that improve the chances of sustainable tourism – whether it’s at the level of individual establishments or the whole sector nationally.

Individual establishments that operate from coastal premises could, for instance, build solid retaining walls, relocate to higher land and develop an emergency evacuation plan. They can also make improvements indoors to increase comfort during periods of bad weather, like installing air conditioners or organising indoor entertainment.

Nationally, the government could develop quicker responses to flood affected regions. This would allow tourism establishments to get back up and running quickly after a climatic event like a flood. Tourism authorities should work with forecasters to understand weather patterns better – then, armed with accurate scientific information they can draw tourists to the most suitable locations for a particular time of year.

Source: sowetanlive

Renowned sustainable tourism development experts speak at retosa’s inaugural southern africa sustainable conference

Renowned sustainable tourism development experts speak at retosa’s inaugural southern africa sustainable conference in johannesburg, south africa: wednesday, 16 – thursday, 17 november 2016

The 1st Annual Sustainable Tourism Development Conference (SASTD), will be hosted by RETOSA in partnership with Sustainable Tourism Partnership Program (STPP) from the 16th to 17th November, 2016 at CedarWoods Hotel in Johannesburg. The Conference has garnered support from all corners of the world including Prof. Megan Eplar Wood- Director of International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Harvard University, and Professor Takadera from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

This gathering will serve as a catalyst for Southern Africa’s first-ever Sustainable Tourism dialogue. 15 RETOSA Member States(Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) will share Sustainable Tourism knowledge and experiences, gain exposure to international best practices as well as utilize the forum as a means of conducting annual progress reports to ascertain levels of development and implementation of Sustainable Tourism within Member States.

Global stakeholders within Sustainable Tourism, namely; SMMEs, private sector, public sector, tourism boards, ministries, NGOs and Sustainable Tourism experts will be in attendance. Delegates will benefits from various workshops, panel discussions and interactive break-away sessions with participants being at the core of the proceedings. Among the key topics to be deliberated on are:

  1. Community Based Tourism (CBT) in Southern Africa
  2. Fair Trade in Tourism and Quality Standards
  3. TFCAs (Transfrontier Conservation Areas) Development in Southern Africa
  4. The State of Sustainable Tourism: Focus on both the Private sector and Public sector
  5. Climate change resilience and mitigation measures, and natural resource management
  6. Optional site visit/tour on the last day of the Conference

Other key speakers and organizations being represented at the Conference are outlined below:

anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Anna Spenceley- International Sustainable Tourism Specialist

sue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sue Snyman- Regional Coordinator, Wilderness Safaris

godfrey

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Geoffrey Manyara-Senior Regional Tourism Advisor, UNECA

caroline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Caroline Ungersbock-CEO of Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme (STPP)

kevin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Kevin Mearns, UNISA

 

Visit us at http://www.retosa.co.za to learn more.

For enquiries, please contact:

Full name: Ms. Lenah Kitenge

Contact numbers: +2711 315 2420/1 or +2711 315 2422

Email address: communication@retosa.co.za

Addressing climate change through mitigation, adaptation activities in Namibia

By Dr Moses Amweelo

According to Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC) 2001, mitigation refers to an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.

These include the use of renewable energy sources and efficient technology among many other actions.

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Namibia developed a national climate change strategic and action plan 2013-2020 and two themes under mitigation namely: sustainable energy and prioritised low carbon development and transport.

Under these themes, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a programme called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) and it refers to any action that reduces emissions in developing countries and is prepared under the umbrella of national governmental initiatives.

They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus.

National appropriate mitigation actions are supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions relative to business as usual emissions in 2020.

Namibia’s NAMA is focused on rural development in Namibia through electrification with renewable energy.

The NAMA programme presents an opportunity for sustainable development for Namibia, and, at the same time, an opportunity for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed programme was designed to support Namibia in achieving its strategies for rural electrification and to complement on-going activities in this field.

The programme’s overall target is to support Namibia in achieving the goal defined in the off-grid energisation master plan namely, to provide access to appropriate energy technologies to everyone living or working in off-grid areas.

In respect of transport, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with the City of Windhoek has developed a project proposal on low carbon transport in Windhoek.

The project aims at providing the necessary means for the development of a low-carbon city (that can be replicated to other towns in the country).

Windhoek is rapidly developing and so this project will set Windhoek city as a role model for sustainable transport in southern Africa.

The project would contribute to climate change mitigation through increased access to public and non-motorised transport and avoid increasing congestion and thus reduce Namibia’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Target actions would include construction of public transport, walking and cycling facilities, raising awareness of low-carbon transport options and vehicle fuel efficiency, strengthened institutional and regulatory systems for climate responsive planning, integration of climate change into land-use plans and renewal of the existing public vehicle fleet.

The project will be submitted to the Green Climate Fund, an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was adopted by 195 Parties at the end of 2011.

Its primary purpose is to promote a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

The fund is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise climate finance of US$100 billion per year by 2020.

Regarding adaptation activities in Namibia, climate change will affect everyone, all sectors and at many levels and it will have a profound impact on the entire chain of livelihood, economic growth and ecosystem.

This is proven by scientific modelling and prediction for the factor that the country is characteristic with most arid climate in southern Africa; hence our economy is already exposed to difficult and harsh conditions with water accessibility a serious threat.

Prolonged drought, although considered normal to some extent, has devastating impacts on livelihood, food availability, health and wellbeing in many of our rural communities.

Namibia has placed more focus on adaptation that is currently implemented under four key critical themes, that is, food security and sustainable biological resources; sustainable water resources base; human health and wellbeing; and infrastructure development.

To date, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism – which is responsible for planning, formulating and coordinating all climate change-related initiatives – has initiated notable interventions that aim to embrace national government/development plans towards a resilient nation.

The following programmes were initiated to address climate change adaptation namely: scaling up community resilience to climate variability and climate change in northern Namibia, with a special focus on women and children.

This project aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity to climate change and reduce the vulnerability of 4,000 households (80 percent of which are female headed) and children in 75 schools, to drought and floods in northern Namibia by scaling up the most promising adaptation pilots from Namibia’s community-based adaptation (CBA) programme and a Green Climate Fund project previously implemented as well as developing a response plan for the identification and prioritisation of technologies to address water scarcity in Namibia.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has developed a response plan for climate change adaptation technology that allows the country transition to sustainable water security.

The response plan was submitted to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, which is one of the arms of the UNFCCC responsible for facilitating and assisting the non-annex countries such as Namibia with relevant technologies to address impacts of climate change and advocacy on climate change awareness campaign.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation and Desert Research Foundation of Namibia are conducting the public awareness workshops on climate change issues, to ensure that the information is disseminated to all interested and affected parties’ country wide.

Awareness raising efforts are a key feature of attaining the goals of our national climate change policy.

As such, cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as this collaboration, are of great importance to support education and public awareness for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change and continuing to oversee the implementation of these activities in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

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Opinion: Brexit Will Benefit South African Tourism, The New Gold

From MoneyWeb. Story by Unathi Sonwabile Henama, tourism lecturer at South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology.

South Africa has strong political, economic, cultural and social ties with its former colonizer, the U.K.

The financial markets suffered in the aftermath of the historic referendum to leave the European Union. Brexit has implications for the South African economy, and South Africa must focus on what it can control.

South Africa has been experiencing a currency crisis with the rand losing value against major currencies. This has hurt economic growth. South Africa is likely to enter a recession as the economy won’t grow more than 1 percent this year.

South Africa imports more than it exports, and this has led to a huge trade deficit as a percentage of GDP. The economy depends on foreign direct investment to drive growth, in line with the country’s export-led economic policy. The economy is also suffering from job shedding in mining as commodities prices have plummeted, and labor costs have increased, increasing the cost of doing business. The rand’s weakness has increased the cost of living.

The rand’s value loss means that South Africa becomes much more attractive as a value-for-money destination. Tourism is an export product that is consumed at the destination, because it is a service that is simultaneously produced and consumed. This means that the majority of value addition can happen within the country, in contrast to exporting raw materials and importing the final product — so prevalent in the mining sector.

South Africa has adopted a flexible currency model, therefore when the rand loses value, it’s time to sell South Africa more.

Tourism is the only industry that has the ability and potential to create labor-intensive jobs that can change the gloomy reality of poverty. Tourism is the “new gold” — it produces more foreign exchange receipts than gold mining.

The U.K. is the No. 1 international inbound tourism market to South Africa according to Stats SA’s Tourism and Migration April 2016, with 18.4 percent of all tourists. The U.S. is No. 2. Europe as a whole produces 58.8 percent of tourists to South Africa.

South Africa is the third cheapest destination for U.K. tourists after Portugal and Bulgaria. Tourists can counter the decline in the South African economy.

Read more at MoneyWeb.
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Africa: Tourism Has Capacity to Build Peaceful Societies

Tourism has proved to be one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors, contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of various nations.

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Yet the potential of this sector as an instrument of helping bring peace to the world has not been fully exploited.

With international tourist arrivals totalling almost 1,2 billion last year and expected to reach 1,8 billion by 2030, such large numbers can be useful in spreading peace.

It is important that more than half of the 1,8 billion tourist arrivals by 2030 will be in emerging economies and developing countries.

More statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that tourism is accounting for 10 percent of the global GDP, 30 percent of the world’s trade services and one in 11 jobs worldwide.

The above figures leave no doubt that tourism is an economic powerhouse that can be used to create opportunities to improve the people’s livelihoods.

More importantly, the huge number of travellers can be fully exploited to bring a word of peace among nations and open new public diplomacy fronts.

This is why the First World Conference on Tourism for Development held in Beijing, China, last week should be viewed as one of those important steps in opening new avenues for tourism.

The theme of the conference, “Tourism for Peace and Development” was a clear indication on the direction stakeholders want the sector to take.

That Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was part of the conference, which he officially opened, signified the importance of the tourism sector to China and the world at large.

And the speakers had a clear mission: without peace there is no tourism to talk about, so why not use tourism to create peace to ensure its survival?

Premier Li’s speech was an eye opener and one of the most important as it gave direction to the conference.

“There is need to make tourism a bond of peace,” was his message, “something that contributes to friendly exchanges and harmonious relations among the people to open and inclusive development”.

One of the solutions proffered by Premier Li was that countries and regions estranged in relations need to ease restrictions on personnel flows to allow cultural exchanges and “break the ice in bilateral exchanges”.

In Zimbabwe, tourism has managed to break the barriers with other nations and among the local people, effectively contributing to peace and economic development.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi attended the conference in Beijing where he spoke on tourism’s role in public diplomacy following decades of isolation by the West.

The early years of the millennium saw Western countries, not happy with the land reform, issue advisories to their citizens against travelling to Zimbabwe.

For nearly a decade, tourism in Zimbabwe was almost dead as the conflict with the Western countries continued.

Zimbabwe had been virtually ex-communicated from bodies such as the UNWTO due to non-payment of membership subscription as a result of the economic problems arising from its fallout with these countries over the agrarian reform.

Inflation last recorded in December 2008 was in excess of 240 million percent, the Zimbabwe dollar was in quadrillions to the US$ and the international media onslaught had virtually collapsed the Zimbabwe brand.

In February 2009, the Government of National Unity was formed and Dr Mzembi was appointed to the Tourism and Hospitality Industry portfolio.

What he said at the conference left many delegates with no doubt that tourism can indeed be a tool for peace.

And to quote him: “I immediately recognised the potential of people-to-people diplomatic potential of the tourism sector and how it would underwrite inter-state diplomacy going forward,” he said while addressing a session of the conference under theme “Tourism for Peace”.

Within a few months, Zimbabwe had regained its membership to bodies such as UNWTO, World Travel Tourism Council and the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (retosa).

It was also important that a public diplomatic offensive be launched and this set Dr Mzembi and his team on a worldwide tour.

The team reached out to leaders of countries that had imposed travel restrictive measures against Zimbabwe for the survival of tourism.

What followed the diplomatic efforts was a clean bill of travel first from Germany, then countries in the European Union, the United States and Japan.

People-to-people to diplomacy had won for Zimbabwe and the peace brought by the tourism actors ensure the country’s tourism sector would easily return to normal.

The ultimate destination of the diplomatic offensive was the co-hosting of the 20th session of the General Assembly of the UNWTO by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013.

In between, tourism diplomacy had seen Zimbabwe elected to the executive council of the UNWTO, got successive chairmanship of retosa, was two-time president of the African Travel Association and now second time chairperson of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.

Dr Mzembi was able to graphically describe the situation at the Beijing conference.

“Unfortunately, following the inception of our agrarian reform, the response of a section of the international community created near similar conditions to those that prevailed pre-1980 for tourism, similar to war conditions,” he said.

“The response in itself by the section of the international community was a failure of State diplomacy. Tourism then came to the rescue, refusing to be a victim of collateral damage arising out of the failure of State diplomacy.

“Tourism has a natural patent to soft power and it should be deployed in public and people-to-people diplomacy.”

Going forward, it is clear, and living in the era of terrorism, that it is not hard power alone that will defeat the scourge.

It is complementary action from soft power that will ultimately win because terrorism is conceived and transported in the mind.

Dr Mzembi provided useful insights to support this argument.

“It is an ideological mindset and the citizen diplomacy will overwhelm terror because you cannot ask seven billion people to stay at home — 1,2 billion people are already part of the travel revolution,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s tourism minister observed that no country is safe from the scourge of terror and, therefore, “an attack on humankind no matter how geographically remote or distant is an attack on us all”.

The terror problem is rampant and requires global solutions, he said. It also should not just deal with outcomes and symptoms, but go to the causes.

“What really causes terror?” he asked the delegates. “We must look critically at current sources of terror, that it is not a coincidence that they appear to be from collapsed States, arising out of interventions in internal matters of targeted regimes.

“There is a link also with the emerging current refuge crisis in Europe.”

As more people travel around the world, they must be treated as ambassadors of goodwill who bring an olive branch of peace to their hosts.

And the number is expected to increase exponentially in the next decade, considering that in 1950 there were just 25 million international travellers.

Tourism definitely has the capacity to fight poverty and build peaceful societies and the sector must fully contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 universal goals.

It was important that the conference in Beijing was all-inclusive, with UN representatives, government ministers and high level tourism officials from across the world attending.

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Seychelles and South African tourism boards sign MoU for better cooperation

Better cooperation and exchanges are expected in the field of tourism between Seychelles and South Africa after the two countries’ respective tourism boards signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the INDABA trade fair earlier this month in Durban.

The MOU was signed on behalf of Seychelles by the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St Ange and Sthembiso Dlamini, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Tourism Board.

Several talks and discussions were held between the two bodies in the past year, leading up to the realisation of this agreement which now covers numerous areas of prolific cooperation between them.

In the presence of several representatives of both tourism boards, the agreement was signed and toasted to as both Minister St Ange and Ms Dlamini said they look forward to further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement promotes promotional efforts and collaboration in developing the tourism industry of both countries as they seek to: jointly position Seychelles and South Africa as touristic destinations and increase their market profiles as preferred destinations; collaborate on marketing activities, tourism campaigns and travel trade promotions aimed at increasing the market share of both countries; provide access to each other’s pool of marketing intelligence especially to increase the marketing efficiencies of both countries; collaborate on efforts to increase the countries’ exposure in the global market and improve communication between the two parties in order to foster a closer working relationship.

Minister St Ange, who has been instrumental in pushing for such an agreement between the two bodies, reiterated of why he felt ‘Africa should work with Africa’, if the continent is to move forward and be a more attractive product on the international tourist market.

“South Africa has been and remains a strong source market for Seychelles and it is a country with which we share excellent relations. But there are more we can do for each other and this agreement will lead the way to better cooperation and exchanges between the two parties, which will help to position both destinations at a new level on the international tourist market,” he said.

Ms Dlamini also spoke of the need to work together in order to develop a common approach to developing the two countries’ tourism plan and strategies.

“Collaboration is central to all we endeavour to do as SA Tourism to grow and support the tourism industry in the country, and on the continent. We are very excited that our initial discussions with the Seychelles have borne fruit in the form of this MOU. We are looking forward to future engagement to realise our shared vision of taking our destinations to new levels of success.”

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Source: myjoyonline


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South Africa: Safety and Domestic Tourism Crucial to Sector’s Growth

Members of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations have voiced concerns about the negative impact perceptions about safety have on the tourism sector’s ability to contribute to the economy, as well as the low intake for domestic tourism.

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Committee Member Mr Willem Faber sought clarity on a comment he attributed to the Minister of Tourism about South Africa being a safe tourist destination, in light of the fact that the United States has previously warned its citizen through an embassy statement that South Africa is not safe.

“This (statement) impacts on our tourism economy. This is not a safe country. A lot of international visitors ask if they will be safe when coming here,” Mr Faber said.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Ms Thokozile Xasa accompanied a high-powered delegation of SA Tourism to Parliament to present the annual performance and strategic plans for the entity.

Ms Xasa told the Committee that tourism was the fastest-growing sector. “We are looking into developing and promoting emerging tourism businesses with the intention to grow them and make sure they are sustainable,” she said.

She said R100 million has been set aside to promote domestic tourism, noting that domestic markets have been identified as cultural, township and ocean tourism.

The Committee heard that SA is still a safe destination compared to many other parts of the world.

Committee Member Mr Boingotlo Nthebe said perceptions about safety are an issue. He cited an example of a recent trip to Zambia where he had heard stories about incidents of xenophobia. “But when we got to Zambia, none of that was happening. We walked between the conference venue and the hotel, and we had lunch in a nearby mall. Safety was not an issue,” Mr Nthebe said.

He said South Africa remains a safe country to visit, despite isolated incidents. He urged SA Tourism to get South Africans excited about local tourism.

The Chairperson of SA Tourism Board, Ms Tanya Abrahamse, shared her view that safety is an issue worldwide, but it was not a good idea to say that tourists are safe when locals are not. “But the challenge is that safety is not our core business. As much as we want it, some other people will have to come and play their role. Travelling is good for the economy.”

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Source: allafrica


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