On Monday at the World Travel Market in London, Africa was in the spotlight in the afternoon with the launch of the newly-formed African Tourism Board. A new, multinational body to promote the travel and tourism sector in Africa was unveiled during World Travel Market in London.
Created by the International Coalition of Tourism Partners, itself based in Seychelles, Brussels, Bali, and Hawaii, the Africa Tourism Board will seek to enhance and promote the sustainable growth, value, and quality of travel on the African continent.
The star guest was none other than former UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, who welcomed the newly-founded tourism board and shared memories and success stories as well as the importance for African Tourism.
The Hon. Tourism Minister Anil Kumrsingh Gayan from Mauritius reminded attending tourism leaders about challenges in Africa touching connectivity.
The Hon. Minister Madam Memunatu B. Pratt, Minister of Tourism for Sierra Leone, shared her vision for African tourism and outlined challenges and welcomed the African Tourism Board.
Alain St. Ange, former Minister of Tourism for Seychelles, asked Africa to rally behind this initiative.
Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions, voiced her support as a board member and assured a great official launch event during WTM Capetown from April 10-12, 2019.
Professor Geoffrey Lipman launched a new initiative enabling thousands of young people to get a scholarship. “We want these young bright African people to get an education in tourism in Africa and not in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.
Graham Cooke, Founder of the World Travel Awards, announced a partnership and his support. Tony Smyth from IFree Group Hong Kong echoed the support of this global communications company.
Louis D’Amore, Founder of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism sent his greeting and his hope to have his next conference in Africa.
The ICTP Chairman and initiator of the African Tourism Board said:
I am humbled and overwhelmed today seeing so many of you have taken the time to be here today. May I first thank Carol Weaving, Director of Reed Exhibitions for hosting this event today.
This is the first informal meeting and the soft launch of the African Tourism Board before our official launch planned at WTM Capetown from April 10-12, 2019.
The presence of so many of you, the honor to see so many ministers and leaders from throughout Africa, demonstrates great encouragement.
Africa needs its own voice in the global travel and tourism industry. With 54 countries, many more cultures, and a wealth of attractions, it’s still a continent to be discovered.
Tourism also means responsibilities, and tourism means business, investments, and should mean prosperity.
And this is where the African Tourism Board can be of great help.
The African Tourism Board is about business, but it’s also about responsible and sustainable tourism and is about investments, and it’s a source in crisis situations, and it’s all about bringing African tourism together.
Africa is a competitive place, and our partner, the World Travel Awards, recognizes the best of the best every year, and I am glad Graham Cooke is here today able to tell you more.
ICTP is a global organization. Our theme is “Green Growth and Quality equals Business. ” Our organization in its current form was founded in Lusaka, Zambia, during the International Institute for Peace through Tourism Conference in 2011. This was jointly witnessed by IIPT Founder ,Louis D’Amore; Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism at that time from Seychelles; Geoffrey Lipman, President of ICTP from Brussels; Eddy Bergman from the African Travel Association in New York; and myself. This happened also in the presence of the Zambia Tourism Minister, Catherine Namugala, and Dr. Walter Mzembi, Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe at that time.
With so many ties to Africa, with Rwanda, Johannesburg, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Reunion as African founding members, ICTP is now the driving force behind the African Tourism Board today.
With our steering committee formed, the African Tourism Board goal is to convert this initiative into a stand-alone organization by April 2019.
Our vision is to have ATB be based in every member destination and in every source market. This will create a global network for Africa, and enables every base to interact with every other base.
ATB has no intention to take over your national tourism initiatives, tourism boards, or policies. See us as a consultant, see us as a client ready to bring business.
ATB cannot be just an organization of dedicated volunteers, we plan to build an organization of paid professionals.
We don’t plan to compete with any other member organization, they have worked hard for Africa. We’re ready to lend our hand.
What we bring to the table are projects you can buy into and that are generated with your interest in mind. This is where our strength will be.
We are not here to take your money and organize costly events, or send you on roadshows that are never meant to bring the return you are looking for.
We are not here to replace your current effort to promote your destination, replace your PR or Marketing representatives; we’re here as your consultant, advisor, spokesperson, and we will have a hands-on approach.
We are not here to charge you membership fees, we are here to build a global network with you and for you, and it’s up to you to buy into the projects we bring to the table. We are building a partnership for African Tourism – anywhere in the world.
For example, what works in Germany, doesn’t work in the United States, in China, or in India. Case in point, for the U.S. market, having another dinner or cocktail evening in New York may bring the same non-producing and often so-called travel professionals together for a fun evening, but it won’t generate business.
Paying someone to write a costly press release will not generate publicity or create long-lasting exposure. We know this, and your PR and marketing agency knows it. We like to work with those who know this and are willing work and bring a different approach to the table.
What about secondary markets in the U.S.? We plan to hire a professional rep making sales calls who will visit travel companies and concentrate on often overlooked but highly-potential markets in the U.S.
We’re here to introduce specialty markets like the MICE industry.
Americans love the Internet, but they still love to talk to someone even more. We will establish an African Call Center to respond to questions, respond to emails, and respond to social media comments. The U.S. is only one market. In this room alone, you can see experts ready to bring travelers from potential markets like India, Germany, the UK, and China to your destination.
Therefore, we are building a global network of media friends and Africa-friendly trade. We work with the organization “Tourism and More” on training for tourism police, on safety certification, and workshops. We are planning to work with the International Tourism Investment Conference in attracting investments to Africa.
We already started to identify an excellent team of a board and steering committee members. Our steering committee is ready to establish a way forward and will help with a structural set-up to announce in April at our official launch.
People asked me where ATB will be based.
We would like to have ATB based in every country that supports us – this includes African countries and in countries with a source market for African Tourism. We need a go-to person on the ground in every country, and we need to find a way to communicate with every person on the ground in other countries and regions within and outside Africa.
We won’t charge memberships, but we rely on sponsorships based on your ability, and in addition, we will offer a catalog of projects you can buy into.
www.africantourismboard.com is an easy domain to be branded, and its one of the reasons we decided to call this initiative the African Tourism Board.
We invite our stakeholders to have an email address or website on our platform. This will raise confidence among consumers and provide a chance for small to medium businesses in Africa to do business in source markets.
After the Monday event, ATB received emails and calls from all across Africa, and it appears many more destinations in Africa want to join the African Tourism Board.