World Tourism Forum Lucerne’s growing footprint in Africa

The just ended World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) was a well-organized event. At its 6th Edition at the KKL museum in Switzerland, the event brought together over 500 people from 56 countries. The forum also brought together people from various backgrounds. They were business people, tech giants, start-ups, ministers of tourism, business executives and many others.

This year’s format changed from the previous events. This time around, the setting had something unique and was moderated by two outstanding media personalities. The setting was more interactive

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat speaking at the session

One of the two of the moderators was Kenya’s Caroline Mutoko Group CMO and General Manager Digital, Radio Africa who brought a lot of life, humour, and panache to bear on the program. She was the first African moderator, AND She received heap of praises from delegates about her style; articulate and simply impeccable in driving the program. She was also a very good Ambassador for Kenya tourism

Caroline Mutoko speaking to one of the start ups at the event

This African touch has been spurred by one of Africa’s hardworking women in the tourism space. Kenya’s Jacinta Nzioka who was appointed to the advisory board of the Organization in 2017. She was the only African appointed to the Switzerland based organization. Her desire to sell the African brand has begun bearing fruits.

Speaking to VoyagesAfriq on the sidelines of the 6th WTFL Jacinta Nzioka said ‘’For the last two years I’ve been a board member at WTLF. I will always say that I have been able to see a lot of change in terms of inclusion, diversity and for the first time this year we are seeing a lot of topics around this area. I am proud to say that seeing this change and this transition and the ability to involve everybody in decision making, in projections, in trends and analysis is really great.’’

Jacinta Nzioka

She added that Tourism in Africa is key for most of our economies and observed that some African countries rely on tourism as the backbone of their economies.

The Director of Marketing at the Kenya Tourism Board said, decision-making process, the think tank, the next generation activities, young talents and the ability to bring cases and share experiences and studies about the sustainability model that is used in Africa is adding value to the World Tourism Forum.

African start ups are yet to showcase their prowess and business innovation at the forum and this is something Jacinta will be working on the coming year.

Ms Refiloe Julia Lekgau

This year’s conference at least had ten personalities who played different and important roles in giving not only balance and voice to Africans but enriching the event with the touch of African beauty, intellect and style.

President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, a Kenyan Prof Musimbi Kanyoro did a presentation on inclusion and used her situation as a test case about how she overcame the challenges of being the first and black woman and called on people to respect the rights of other people.

Prof Musimbi Kanyoro

A tour operator from Tanzania Elizabeth Uya shifted the focus back on Africa when she emerged one of the three winners of this year’s Star Award in Tourism. She told the world about the role of women in tourism and rallied the gathering to give women the opportunity to the world stating that women were the biggest beneficiaries of community based tourism

Ms Refiloe Julia Lekgau a student from Johannesburg University took home the young Talent award for her paper on wildlife tourism

The WTFL Generation Leaders had Four Africans namely Jacinta Nzioka Kenya, Carmen Nibigira Burundi, Irine EDDIE, a Kenyan based in Milan, and Ala’a Kolkaila from Egypt.

The Next Generation Leaders

VoyagesAfriq dispelled the mystery around World Tourism Forum and gave constant updates and daily information as the only media partner from Africa this year.

The President and CEO of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne Prof Martin Barth expressed his commitment to holding an event on the African continent as well as focusing on specific programmes to grow tourism traffic, capacity building and development to the region in the coming years.

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