South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu has raised concerns over the continued adverse effects of changing climatic conditions on the tourism industry in Africa.
She fears concerns over the global phenomenon if ignored could have a crippling impact on the sector.
Alluding to recent floods that swept through the KwaZulu-Natal province, the Minister speaking at ongoing Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban stated that tourism must play an integral role in cutting down on pollutants.
“In reflecting on these catastrophes, we must be cognizant that we are experiencing warning signs of climate change, therefore our sector must be part of the united global response to the challenge of reducing carbon emissions,” she said.
Ms. Sisulu pointed out that tourists were beginning to appreciate the need for tourism to be sustainable; thus, stakeholders must be mindful of that.
She stated: “We know from our insights that responsible tourism and sustainability are big considerations for travelers from various parts of the world. Over the years, they have placed even greater importance on this issue when choosing a destination to visit.
“Responsible tourism has to be the way of the future. Practicing tourism that minimises carbon footprints, conserves energy and water, reduces waste and plastic consumption, and ensures that fair benefits accrue to communities and employees, is not just an option – it is vitally important. Ensuring that communities access real benefits from tourism is critical to the success and sustainability of this industry on our continent.”
In the meantime, the minister expressed delight that industry players could once again converge at Africa’s Travel Indaba to do business.
“For now, though, Africa’s Travel Indaba is back, this time around with renewed energy and focus. This is the continent’s leading travel trade show and the foremost business platform, geared at reconnecting the tourism sector in person whilst networking and doing business which will contribute to the much-needed recovery of our sector on the continent.”
She praised the resilience of the tourism sector; particularly in the face of the devastating Coronavirus which had placed a moratorium on events such as Africa’s Travel Indaba for close to two years.
Ms. Sisulu stressed, “I am delighted that we are finally here and that we have been able to meet again after a two-year hiatus. The recent months of devastation in the Province have presented us with an additional set of challenges, on top of those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. I know I have said numerous times before, but I will say it again, the tourism sector is incredibly resilient. And us being here today is testament to that.”
By: Samuel Obeng Appah