SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance unveils ambitious tourism initiatives for Southern Africa at ITB Berlin

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Natalia Rosa, Project Lead SADC Tourism Business Council Tourism Alliance, shared insights into the alliance’s significant strides and ambitious initiatives during an interview with VoyagesAfriq at this year’s ITB Berlin.

Rosa provided an overview of the engagement session held by the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance with the general travel trade during ITB Berlin. She stated, “We held a session to provide progress on some of the tourism initiatives that we have been doing in Southern Africa on behalf of the SADC Secretariat and SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance.”
On the broader context, Rosa explained, “What we were seeking to achieve yesterday was to provide an update on some of the initiatives that form part of the SADC programme 2020-2030, which is the guideline or the framework that we use to understand which activities we can create in Southern Africa to grow tourism arrivals and foster economic development and job creation in the region.”

Rosa also shed light on specific initiatives discussed during the engagement event, including the Air Access study, E-visa implementation, and the creation of the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance. She emphasised the importance of collaboration, stating, “Yesterday was an opportunity for us to share updates on some of the activities we have been doing over the last year with our colleagues from the GIZ, journalists, the travel industry and national tourism organisations.”

Commenting on the ambitious nature of the SADC programme, Rosa noted, “The program is a very ambitious one and also an incredible one because it really guides what it is that we do in Southern Africa to create economic development.” She stressed ongoing initiatives as seeds planted for future growth, anticipating that they will be rolled out over the next decade and potentially beyond.

Rosa underscored the collaborative efforts between the SADC Secretariat and the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, emphasizing their commitment as a private-public sector partnership. She stated, “We are working very hard to roll these initiatives out on behalf of the travel industry and our public sector counterparts.”

Rosa revealed additional efforts, including a “train the trainer” pilot focused on customer service for immigration officials, crisis communication, and incident management. She also mentioned plans for the establishment of the Uni-Visa pilot, simplifying accessibility for inbound tourists to the Southern Africa region.

Story by Samuel Obeng Appah

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