Promoting sustainable development in Africa through the facilitation of networking and business opportunities in African tourism constitutes the main objective of the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, organized by the World Tourism Organization and Casa África at the FITUR International Tourism Fair. Some twenty African tourism ministers attended the seventh edition of this initiative, which was inaugurated by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, he Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of the Government of Spain, José Manuel Soria and the Director General of Casa África, Luis Padrón.
After seven editions with progressive increases in terms of both participants and projects, Investour has become on of the prime catalyst for the development of African tourism in Spain, and specifically at FITUR.
“The African continent offers a wealth of opportunities in many areas, but especially in the tourism sector. We feel very proud when we look back on this seventh edition of Investour and see the more than 1,000 projects that have been presented in recent years and how participation has multiplied, making this event an international point of reference,” said the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai.
This seventh edition of the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, Investour, was attended by more than 400 professionals of the sector during its morning session, which was devoted to the discussion of current issues that are most relevant for the development of African tourism, such as investment, Africa’s image and air connectivity. The afternoon session focused on Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings between African and Spanish companies and destinations. More than 150 entrepreneurs participated in this session, which consists of one-to-one talks between companies seeking to explore shared interests. Exchanging experiences, formalizing contracts and incubating future investment projects are among the objectives of this forum.
Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, was present at the inauguration of the Forum and stated that Investour makes available to the African countries the know-how of the sector in Spain and its companies with a view to helping them successfully carry out development projects in Africa.
“This event is a unique example of cooperation between entities of different natures, such as Casa África and the World Tourism Organization, which nevertheless share common interests: facilitating the exchange of experiences and promoting opportunities and investments in the African continent,” said Luis Padrón, Director General of Casa África.
Investour was attended by representatives of the World Bank, private companies including Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Bench Events and Amahoro Tours, airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines and organizations such as the Spanish Federation of Travel Agencies. The morning session also set the stage for the presentation of the forthcoming meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa, to be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 19-21 April.
At Investour, the African tourism ministers expressed their optimism regarding the growth potential of their countries. Africa’s tourist arrivals are expected to grow by between 2% and 5% in 2016. According to estimates, the number of tourists travelling to Africa will reach 134 million in 2030 compared to the current 54 million tourists.