Namibia set to host UNWTO Brand Africa Conference in June

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Namibia is set to hold the World Tourism Organization’s Regional Conference on Brand Africa.

The conference themed ”Strengthening Brand Africa for the swift Recovery of the Tourism Sector” will host Tourism Ministers, experts, and stakeholders from 14-16 June 2021.

The Southern African country was initially penciled to host the brand conference last year but was put on hold as a result of the Coronavirus.

During his 4-day state visit to Namibia in November 2020, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili said, they were committed to holding the event in Namibia this year and in consultation with the Namibian Government will fix a date for the event.

He added that the conference will be an opportune platform to look for new ways to make Africa a must-visit destination and position it in the minds of travelers.

A key theme, Advocating Brand Africa, which features on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa: Tourism for Inclusive Growth identifies Branding as a major area to help to create a positive image of Africa as a tourism destination that supports the efforts of individual countries and companies. It also serves to narrate several positive stories about Africa and make tourism a driver of development.

As part of preparations towards the event, Director of the Africa Department at UNWTO, Elcia Grandcourt was on a Preliminary Mission to Namibia last April where she met with the country’s Minister for Environment, Forestry, and Minister, Pohamba Shifeta to firm up an agreement on Namibia as the host country.

The Minister said the Conference is welcoming in that it offers the country an opportunity to restart tourism. “We feel this conference is very vital especially this time and it’s a necessity because we are trying to put everything back on track after we’ve had COVID-19 last year which is continuing this year. We feel the Brand Africa Conference will put most of the elements on the rail,” he said.

Relaying the Secretary General’s pledge to advancing Namibia’s tourism, Ms. Grandcourt said, “I can reiterate the SG’s commitment to the development of Namibia’s tourism. Covid hasn’t been easy for many of our members and from the get-go, this is what he’s been advocating; he believes we must travel, reopen our borders, and take into account the various protocols to be in line so that slowly, we can restart tourism.”

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