President Samia hints on tourism potentials

RWANDA, Kigali PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has highlighted some considerations that African governments can undertake for the tourism industry to make expected and required strides.

According to the Head of State, if well utilised the sector can be of great use to most of African countries in terms of repositioning the continent foreign currencies.

Dr Samia made the remarks yesterday at the 23rd World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda.

“In order for the tourism industry to make expected and requires strides, there, however, some serious questions for African governments to ask ourselves and some considerations to undertake,” she said.

The President said, Africa should develop compelling narratives and a brand identity that highlights the continent’s unique natural heritage, beauty and diverse experiences.

“We must invest in targeted marketing campaigns across various platforms to reach the global audience,” she said.

She cited Tanzania, saying the country experience a lot of new arrivals following the global watched film ‘The Royal Tour’ produced by CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

Linked to that, the Head of State said, Africa should ensure wider access to information resources on local customs, traditions and cultural practices adding that Africa should tell its own story in its own terms and set a positive narrative about the continent.

“We cannot afford to continue remaining silent in this era of fake news, we should stand up and put the records straight. African is not only the future it is now,” President Samia said.

Dr Samia further stressed the importance of conservation and preservation noting that Africa is regarded as   a guardian of nature because the forefathers played their part in protecting the same.

“If Africa is to relay on natural attractions it is imperative that we should prioritise conservation and support efforts to preserve cultural sites, artifacts and traditions and to ensure they remain accessible for generations to come,” she said,

She cited a motto by Tanzania’s tourism television which says ‘Tumerithishwa, Tuwarithishe’ loosely translated what we inherited we should also pass it on to the next generation noting that…

“In view of this Africa should continue to prioritise sustainable tourism practices by minimising the environmental foot prints of tourism activities, promoting the conservation of natural resources and supporting community-based tourism initiatives.

She said the continent should emphasise on eco-tourism which promotes responsible travel to natural areas, contribute to conservation efforts and provide sustainable economic benefits to local communities.

The President further said that for tourism sector to continue being relevant the countries should endeavour to undertake research on tourism trends, visitors’ preferences and environmental impacts.

“This will allow us to make informed decision and refines strategies for sustainable growth across the continent. In my view this is an area where the WTTC and other partners can also come in,”

In enhancing the capacity of professionals to understand and respond effectively to the challenges facing the sector, Dr Samia insisted on research and data analysis adding that some identify the sector as tourism and put aside travel noting that the act may have effects on the calculation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economies.

According to President Samia in Tanzania, tourism sector contributes up to 17.2 per cent of the country’s GDP and 25 per cent of its total export earnings.

“While this is massive contribution from one single source it entails that Africa can leverage to tourism to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities,” she said.

The 23rd World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit Which commenced on November 1 to 3 this year brought together industry leaders and government representatives to discuss and align efforts for the recovery of the travel and tourism sector.

The theme of this year’s Global Summit, “Building Bridges to a Sustainable Future”, is focused on moving towards a safer, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

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