It has been another successful Africa Tourism Leadership Forum where for three days some of the continent’s best brains in the industry assembled in Durban, South Africa to discuss issues pertinent to the growth of a sector many see as a critical tool in developing economies in Africa. The second edition began with the first-ever Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit (AYITS) on August 27 with the Africa Tourism Leadership Awards capping all off on the 29th.
On AYITS, we sampled views from the speakers who spoke with the over 200 young people who participated and here are they:
Jacinta Nzioka (Board Member of World Tourism Forum Lucerne & Speaker )
Today’s discussion was about youth innovation and how to integrate the youth in the tourism sector. What has come out of it is that the youth need to be really proactive, to find space and interact with tourism. If you look at the tourism value chain, what really entices the customer is the experience. So they have the opportunity to invest, package experiences that are very unique where there is a gap. We have various examples and cases. Some of them have been challenged to create experiences around their villages. Who knows what happens in your festivals, in your day to day engagements. When there’s a wedding, when someone has a new born baby, when it is planting or rainy season. There’s a lot of music festivals and the youth have a lot of talent in culture and arts, and that is the area we have been challenged to look at.
It is the work of what authentically belongs to them or available that can create that differentiation. It’s not about the copy and paste theme or what the big companies have done. It’s about creating a niche for yourself, creating an authentic experience that is going to set you apart.
We leave this session having mentored the youth and having found new young people that are interested in the area of passion that we have, especially in community based development projects that embrace cultures, conservation and the uniqueness of sustaining their businesses.
Prof Wolfgang Thome (Speaker and Publisher, ATC News)
It was a fantastic start today. ATLF pioneered and broke new grounds by bringing the youth into the summit and this is something which no doubt will be copied by many other organizations when they are all there. Including annual meetings and their conferences. It’s our obligation as senior in the industries to bring in the next generation to good use. The senior attendees, speakers, CEO’s and moderators are actually mentoring young people and this is really the biggest accomplishment ATLF has made. I can only say thank you very much and congratulations to this accomplishment. I echo your sentiments, thank you Kwazulu Natal, to Durban, thank you to South African tourism and all the other key sponsors who have made it possible to bring over 200 young people into the room from across Africa.
Kwakye Donkor (Speaker and CEO, Africa Tourism Partners)
We are very grateful to all the delegates. One of the key outcomes was to run the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit. Today we’ve had record numbers, over 200 delegates from across Africa about 15 to 20 countries. It was very good because we got a generational mix, experienced and inexperienced, young and old discussing ways we can use tourism to create job opportunities and business opportunities for the young people and I think a lot experience has been shared from professors like Thome to CEO’s of tourism boards to entrepreneurs, and to directors of consulting organizations. I think we couldn’t have asked for anything better, we’ve had speakers from all over Africa such as Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and others and it’s been very good. This is great and I believe it will be bigger and much better next year.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah