The much-anticipated gathering of travel agents and tour operators from Nigeria and Ghana took place yesterday at the School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg in South Africa.
The ‘NANTA Conference’, an initiative of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) in partnership with the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) with support from South African Tourism, saw over 200 participants from both countries in attendance.
Various speakers spoke on different subjects highlighting the need to forge close partnerships among industry stakeholders to boost intra-African travel and tourism.
Representatives of both the Nigeria and Ghana High Commissions in South Africa urged the gathering to engage the AU through the AfCFTA to explore opportunities for advancing travel within Africa.
Leadership of South African Tourism including, COO, Sonto Ndlovu and West Africa Head, Thekiso Rakolojane, touched on issues surrounding SA visa application and acquisition especially for Nigerians. They both assured the travel agents that they would work with the appropriate authorities, including South Africa’s Home Affairs Office to deal with bottlenecks in the visa application processes.
Presidents of NANTA and TOUGHA, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye and Mrs. Alisa Osei-Asamoah in their respective presentations made a strong case for intra-Africa travel. While the former advocated for telling the beautiful tales of the continent, the latter reminded the gathering of the ‘Garden of Eden’ that is Africa and why it should be on the minds of tourists and travellers.
In a speech, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa admonished the two trade associations to make themselves robust as private sector units in order to be able to drive tourism and make themselves relevant to national tourism discourses.
The day’s event featured activities including a panel discussion on the theme, ‘It’s time for Africa’ where panelists discussed ways of driving borderless movement to ensure bigger efforts for shoring up tourism numbers.
Collaboration and partnerships, loving one another as Africans and governments’ prioritization of tourism as a key driver of economic transformation were some of the areas that were broached in the discussion.
There was also an extensive presentation by the School of Tourism and Hospitality on travel and tourism trends pre-COVID-19 and emerging ones after the pandemic. The conference offered participants an avenue to engage, learn, network and unravel issues hindering a truly integrated Africa that guarantees seamless travel and maximizes tourism’s potential.
The NANTA and TOUGHA members will next take part in this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban from May 8-11.
To see images from the NANTA-TOUGHA Conference, click here.