How governments in Africa can reawaken tourism
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Speaking at Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit’s SMME Day on Sunday, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlalela said governments in Africa need to collaborate to reawaken the continent's tourism sector after the pandemic.
"The success of Africa’s tourism sector in the midst of Covid-19 hinges on increased collaboration among all industry role players.
“For all of us to succeed, we can no longer do business in silos. The new tourism sector calls for greater collaboration between government and the private sector, as well as between the governments of Africa," he said.
Mahlalela said the pandemic had impacted the entire tourism value chain and restricted the movement of people.
"The Department of Tourism has implemented interventions that will help revive small tourism businesses in townships and rural areas that are crucial to the sector.
"SMMEs can aid in the sector’s return to pre-Covid performance levels and its long-term sustainable growth trajectory that fully realises Africa’s vast and diverse tourism potential. The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan also makes provision for the establishment of a support hub to provide non-financial support to tourism businesses to increase the resilience of SMMEs during the pandemic and beyond," he added.
Percy Koji, chief executive of the Small Tourism Enterprise Association (Stea), said governments in Africa needed to create an enabling environment as an initiative poised to drive growth for small and medium-sized businesses.
This included addressing crime.
Koji said SMMEs needed training on various issues, including tax matters.
"SMMEs face numerous challenges such as tight cash flow which limits their strategic options, limited market access and lack of relevant business management skills. We have to professionalise SMMEs so it becomes a more competitive space to be in.
"There also needs an increased focus on the domestic tourism market to create opportunities within our borders," he said.
The summit began on Sunday, September 19 and ends on Tuesday, September 21.
The event aims to spur engagement on the state of tourism on the African continent and share insights and ideas to explore collaborative efforts that can lead to recovery.