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Mauritius hosts regional youth in tourism meet

Mauritius will host a high profile conference on April 23-24 to discuss youth in tourism issues in the Southern African region.

The youth in tourism conference will take place in Pointe aux Piments. It will tackle issues like sustainable tourism development; mainstreaming tourism in the region; market access for youth operated business projects; and funding.

The Southern Africa Youth in Tourism conference is organised by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) and the Mauritian Ministry of Tourism and Leisure.

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A communication from RETOSA says the youth are the emerging leaders of their communities and the conference is being hosted as a platform to facilitate the involvement of youths in sustainable development of tourism in the region. The theme of the conference is: “Promoting Sustainable Tourism Development through Involvement and Participation of the Youth”.

Its strategic objectives are to facilitate the mainstreaming of tourism into the education systems of states in the region, escalate youth participation in the development of the region, and to use tourism as a vehicle for employment creation thereby helping in the fight against poverty.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, who chairs SADC Committee of Ministers Responsible for Tourism; and UNWTO Commission for Africa (CAF), Walter Mzembzi will be the keynote speaker.

Public and private stakeholders directly involved in youth in tourism initiatives and youths involved in the tourism sector will attend the conference.

“This conference will culminate in the election of a Youth in Tourism Steering Committee which will be the driving force responsible for the implementation of the Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Action Plan to be established at the conference,” RETOSA says.

RETOSA is the tourism-implementing agency for Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Its primary objective is to facilitate and promote tourism growth and development in Southern Africa.

Its member states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source: Mmegi Online


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Global hotel groups seek a slice of SA pie

HILTON Hotels is planning to pour more money into South Africa as competition hots up for the continent’s tourism riches.

For a start, the US group plans to convert the independent hotels it controls in South Africa into Garden Inn hotels, according to Patrick Fitzgibbon, vice-president of development for Europe and Africa.

The plan follows signs that a tourism boom is taking shape in South Africa, helped by the rand’s fall against the dollar.

Grant Thornton’s latest Tourism Business Index showed an increase in tourist spending in the fourth quarter of last year – despite the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which prompted some tourists to cancel their trips to the continent.

Fitzgibbon was in South Africa to meet a team developing a new Garden Inn in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

Hilton’s announcement comes three months after Hard Rock International, which owns the Hard Rock Cafe, said it planned to build a hotel in South Africa. Group president and CEO Hamish Dodds said South Africa was a “really logical” place to launch its hotel.

Fitzgibbon said he was not surprised by his rival’s plans, given that Africa had “massive opportunities” in tourism.

The landmark Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg, which has hosted celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama, was bought by the Four Seasons group and its 117 rooms overhauled.

The new-look Westcliff opened for business late last year, but reviews after the R200-million makeover have been mixed, specifically of the one restaurant currently open. A further four restaurants will be opened this quarter.

Perhaps scarred by this poor reception, hotel management did not respond to interview requests this week.

Other hotel groups that want to increase their foothold on the continent include Marriott International, which bought the Protea Hospitality Group for R2-billion last year.

But South African hotel groups are not taking the challenge lying down.

Tsogo Sun, which is controlled by HCI, spent R220-million renovating two key Durban beachfront hotels and has invested R100-million in refurbishing its Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel and building a new hotel, 177 Empire Place, in Sandton.

Other developments announced include the Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel Cape Town, the Thaba Moshate Hotel in Burgersfort and upgrades to Emperors Palace in Kempton Park and the Mmabatho Palms Hotel in Mahikeng.

Hilton has 37 hotels in Africa and plans to build 29 in the next few years.

A three-year upgrade has just started on the Hilton in Durban, a welcome sign of new investment after some volatile years following the 2010 soccer World Cup, which didn’t provide the sort of tourism riches that many had expected.

Tourism revenue grew more than 10% in 2010, but fell more than 18% in 2011, according to a report by PwC.

In 2012, it clawed back some of this ground, growing 12%.

The PwC report said that by 2018, there will be an estimated 63 600 hotel rooms available — up from 60 900 in 2013.

In the report, Nikki Forster, PwC leader of hospitality and gaming, also said capacity was growing faster than room supply, so the occupancy rate for hotels would rise to a projected 71.1% in 2018 from 58.9% in 2013. The average rate will climb to R1265 in 2018, a 6.2% compound annual increase from R935 in 2013.

Hotel room revenue is expected to climb to R20.9-billion in 2018, up 11.2% compounded annually from R12.2-billion in 2013.

Fitzgibbon said South Africa was the most competitive region on the continent.

Its faltering economic growth is not worrying him. He said Hilton was in the business of investing long term, so recent economic woes did not deter the group.

Source: BDLive


 

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Burundi looks at cultural tourism for community development

TANZANIA (eTN) – Looking forward to identifying strategies and best practice in cultivating sustainable, peaceful, and welcoming communities through tourism, culture, and sports, tourism stakeholders will be meeting in South Africa next month to deliberate on the potential roles of tourism, culture, and sports.

Several African tourism experts and policymakers have been invited to the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium in South Africa to share positive experiences from their respective countries and communities on the potential roles of tourism in poverty eradication, conflict resolution, and creation of sustainable development through tourism.

Burundi, a small African nation, rich with diversified cultures, stands as a modal example of countries in Africa looking to develop cultural tourism as a lifeline for community development and a catalyst for poverty eradication.

Lacking abundant wildlife resources as compared to other member states of the East African Community (EAC), Burundi is boastful of rich and diversified cultures, making it the leading cultural destination nation in Eastern and Central Africa.

The government of Burundi has been committed to developing the tourism sector known as a pillar of a socio economic growth and a key player in peace consolidation, according to National Tourism Office of Burundi.

A National Strategy for a Sustainable Development of Tourism resulting from a plan of activities has been in place for three years from 2013 to 2016 and is currently being implemented.

In collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the government of Burundi had committed to develop the Cultural Tourism Program, taking an advantage of the rich cultural diversity in the country.

The program had succeeded to provide local people in various rural areas the opportunity to build sustainable livelihoods from developing and managing cultural tourism enterprises in their communities.

The Cultural Tourism Program is also aimed at giving a bright future for creating understanding and friendships between tourists and local people, offering tourists from across the world the possibility to experience Burundi’s rich and diversified cultural heritage, also creating harmony among local communities through benefit sharing from tourist gains.

The Cultural Tourism Program also allocates a part of the tourist income to community development purposes in the village through improvement and development of primary schools, health centers, a clean water supply, and other social services.

Tourists and tour operators in Burundi had also made voluntary contributions to these development projects, the National Tourism Office of Burundi says.

Burundi has been celebrating World Tourism Day held on September 27 of every year, aiming at strengthening tourism development as an engine for economic growth, highlighting the community dimension as one of the key pillars of sustainable development.

Last year (2014), World Tourism Day was dedicated to community development and was celebrated in Burundi through sensitization of people on the importance of the tourism sector in the country’s development.

With the complementary to the on-going ST-EP Project in Burundi, the UNWTO volunteer on the ground collaborated with the Burundi Ministry of Tourism and organized a two-day “Open Doors” event at the National Tourism Office in Bujumbura from September 26-27, 2014.

The two-day event gathered some 300 visitors who enjoyed traditional performances while mingling with more than 35 exhibition booths, representing local artisans, public tourism institutions, tourism training institutes, tour operators, and the other tourism enterprises.

The event also provided the opportunity for the formal presentation of training certificates to a group of waiters and receptionists who participated in the training carried out from June to August 2014 as part of the activities of the ST-EP project in Burundi.

The ST-EP project in Burundi also focuses on supporting tourism Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to help generate additional local employment for women and youth in Bujumbura and at Lake Tanganyika resources.

Several workshops were held during World Tourism Day, aimed at sensitization of people on community and sustainable tourism development.

Attracting international experts in community development, community tourism, sports, culture, and peace, the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium will be held from February 16 to 20 in Johannesburg to honor the legacies of former South African majority President Nelson Mandela, former Prime minister of India Mahatma Ghandi, and the former US Civil Rights champion, Martin Luther King, Jr.

The symposium is as well, aimed at building bridges of tourism, friendship, and peace between South Africa, India, the United States, and other regions of the world.

Source: eTurbo News