Mauritius: Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Conference says Africa a new place to be
The Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Conference being held in Mauritius aims to facilitate mainstreaming of tourism into the education system, as well as to use tourism as a vehicle for employment creation and poverty alleviation in RETOSA Member States. (Image: retosa.co)
The inaugural of Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Conference titled “Promoting Sustainable Tourism Development through Involvement and Participation of the Youth” is taking place from the 23rd to 24th of April 2015 in Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius.
The event is being organised by the Ministry of Tourism and External Communications and the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) over a two-day session, with participants being the public and private stakeholders who are directly involved in Youth in Tourism issues and also youth involved in the tourism sector.
The youth constitute the emerging leaders of their communities and this conference is being hosted as a platform facilitating the involvement of youth in the sustainable development of tourism in the region.
Topics of discussion at the conference include sustainable tourism development and mainstreaming of sustainable tourism consumption practices in Southern Africa, marketing and market access for youth-run tourism projects, capacity-building programs for youth in tourism in Southern Africa, and securing funding for youth in tourism ventures.
The main objective of this event is to facilitate the mainstreaming of tourism into the education system across the region, to involve the youth in the development of the region and to use tourism as a vehicle for employment creation and, in the process, contribute to poverty alleviation in RETOSA Member States.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Yogida Sawmynaden, said that for many decades, tourism in the African continent was spearheaded by the northern Maghreb region. However, during the last five years, the tourism industry of that region has suffered a lot due to political instability and terrorism.
According to him, the conference is timely as it is calls for a reflection on how to tap and develop tourism markets, particularly with the world becoming a global village where Africa is a new place to be, spurred by the optimistic growth rates of the African continent.
The Minister next pointed out that Africa receives 3% of the tourism receipts globally, as well as 5% of arrivals. However, Southern Africa only receives 2% of both, yet the region has, if put together, arguably the best tourism resource base in the world, he observed.
In this respect, it is strategic for youth to become a driving force in tourism development at the national and regional level so that the region grows its share of the global tourism pie, concluded Minister Sawmynaden.