Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos are the host cities for the inaugural Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, 19-21 September 2021.
The Sandton Convention Centre, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre and the Marriot Lagos Ikeja are the venues that will co-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 and world to reflect, reimagine and reignite the sector in a world still impacted by Covid-19.
The pandemic might have dented the sector in the last 19 months, but it presents the tourism industry with an opportunity to create something new. Organiser South African Tourism is organising the event in hybrid form that could be accessed from anywhere in the world.
A novel feature of this hybrid Summit is the ability for attendees to personalise sessions they wish to attend in any of the three host cities. Delegates outside of Africa can design their schedules according to their time zone so that they can also be a part of the Summit.
Delegates can choose to attend the Summit physically or virtually. However, physical attendance is limited and not guaranteed. All venues will adhere to strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
Through the Business Matchmaking tool attendees will be matched with the right delegates for one-on-one sessions based on their profiles.
The Summit includes an eclectic mix of topics that ranges from how to ease travel across borders on the continent to packaging African travel in a post Covid-19 world, all with the overarching message that Africa is open for business.
Chief convention bureau officer at South African tourism, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, said 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.”
Africa’s tourism industry clearly faces numerous challenges in its bid to rebuild. The United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) stated that the tourism industry is unlikely to return to pandemic 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 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, the 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 and the Summit will go a long way in showcasing to the world Africa’s readiness to welcome tourists within the continent and abroad.”
To register for the Summit, see here.