The inaugural Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA) has opened in Upington in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Making its debut in the Northern Cape of South Africa TIFA is themed, “Forging Global Partnerships for Inclusive Local Economic Development Through Sustainable Investment”,
The Forum has assembled over 200 public and private stakeholders from the tourism and investment sectors to create sustainable economic growth, job creation, and employment opportunities, amongst others.
Setting the scene for the Opening of the conference, was the CEO of Millvest Advisory Miller Matola at the boutique African Vineyards in Kanoneiland near Upington.
He said the focus of the forum is to connect project owners with investors and business representatives who are seeking partnerships to support the implementation of costed ready-for-market projects.
Amongst the desired outcomes of the Forum is also to promote the Northern Cape as a destination of choice for investors and equally one for the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector Mr Matola added.
Welcoming delegates as the host of the event was the MEC for Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism of the Northern Cape Province Abraham Vosloo. In his speech, the MEC highlighted the importance of investments to the province and the country at large and also underscored the province’s strategic importance to the South African economy.
In his speech to officially open the conference South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlela was happy with the choice of Upington as the host of the inaugural summit which he says is in line with the Government objectives, as outlined in the Tourism White Paper of 1996, “which encourages us to prioritize underdeveloped areas with high tourism potential for investment. This will go a long way in promoting the Northern Cape as a MICE destination.
“At the height of the pandemic, we embarked on an extensive Infrastructure Maintenance Programme in state-owned attractions, which includes the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park (here in the Northern Cape) and Kruger National Park (our largest national park that straddles two provinces).
These efforts are aimed at protecting and rejuvenating the supply base of the tourism economy to ensure that when demand returns to the pre-pandemic levels, the supply side such as Airports, roads, accommodation, and amenities such as broadband and health infrastructure are able to keep up with the anticipated demand in line with the objectives of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as well as the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.” Mr Mahlela added.
The gathering also saw countries and provinces showcasing the investment opportunities in its tourism sector.
The Deputy Regional Director for Africa at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Jaime Mayaki shed light on the Role of Infrastructure Investment in ensuring the Sustainability and Competitiveness of Tourism Destinations – Practical lessons for tourism destinations and investment locations.
Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Heather Sibungo on a panel discussing the ease of doing business and smart regulations touted the success of the Namibian government in establishing the Namibia Investment Promotion & Development Board as a state agency lead and drive investments for the country.
The Tourism Department of South Africa offered insights into its investment climate. The Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Mpumalanga provinces took turns to outline the opportunities in its tourism sector for investments.
Namibia, Botswana, and Mozambique in their presentations underscored the deliberate and attractive investment climate enabled by the government to ensure return on investments in their respective countries.
Panel discussions centered around innovative ways of financing tourism developments, ease of doing business, and smart regulation as cornerstones of sustainable intra-Africa investment flows among other pressing issues.
The Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA) is organized by Millvest Investments and Africa Tourism Partners with strategic partners such as Northern Cape Government AFCTA, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Mitsubishi and IDC