Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) addresses intra-Africa travel and innovation at the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards 2021.
The 4th edition of Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards (ATLF) 2021 took place alongside the inaugural Rwanda Tourism week in Kigali, Rwanda from 24 to 27 November 2021. With a mission to promote sustainable growth in Africa and intra-Africa travel through innovative leadership, dialogue and collaboration the hybrid forum brought together key stakeholders of Africa’s travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors to network, share insights and devise strategies for intra-Africa travel and tourism growth across the continent.
Convened by Africa Tourism Partners in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism and the Blue Train, South Africa with support from UNWTO, BDO, Rwandair and several other partners, the AFTL 2021 with Rwanda Tourism Week was hosted by the Government of Rwanda under the auspices of Rwanda Convention Bureau. Evidenced by a high turnout of both physical and virtual participants, the forum took place at a time when the tourism industry is on the recovery path from COVID 19. International participants took advantage of the weeklong exhibition that ran concurrently with ATLF to engage, interact and explore business opportunities face to face with international buyers.
Themed, “Harnessing intra-Africa travel for innovative recovery in Africa’s travel and tourism sector”, the forum focused on intra-Africa travel and innovation in a bid to expedite the tourism recovery process from the impact of COVID 19. Other key issues anchored on collaboration, cooperation, partnerships, co-creation and alliances as major drivers of recovery beyond self, a company or country. Inclusivity and social innovation, funding, Youth in Tourism entrepreneurship forum and Masterclass, EAC – EATP Tourism Roundtable, Leadership and Entrepreneurship Masterclass, Africa Tourism Leadership Awards were some of the major highlights at the ATLF 2021.
In her statement at the ATLF 2021, the Regional Director of Africa at United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Elcia Grandcourt said that tourism demand is very sensitive to economics, security, political stability, natural disasters, and global health emergencies, as shown with the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘’The global health and economic crisis have pointed out the vulnerability of the tourism sector, especially in the Africa region which heavily relies on international and overseas markets. Domestic and regional tourism deem thus crucial to boost the economy of the continent
in the post-recovery phase as major sources of wealth to be leveraged to revamp the sector and make it more resilient than before”.
ATLF 2021 speakers included Hon. Mary Francis Masanja – Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania, Hon. H.E Osman Abokor Dubbe – Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Somalia, UNWTO’s Regional Director for Africa Elcia Grandcourt, Desire Loumou – AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana, Dr Geoffrey Manyara – Economic Affairs Officer, UNECA, Zephanie Niyonkuru – Deputy CEO, Rwanda Development Board, Linda Pereira – CEO, CPL Events, Portugal, Nomasonto Ndlovu – Blue Train, Transnet, South Africa, Senthil Gopinath – CEO, ICCA, Netherlands, Nelly Mukazayire – CEO, Rwanda Convention Bureau, Dianne Dusaidi – Program Partner, MasterCard Foundation, Christelle Grohmann – BDO, Frank Mugisha – Director General, Rwanda Chamber of Tourism & Managing Director, East Africa Tourism Platform and Jimmy Musoni – Commercial Director, RwandAir.
Finalists of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge were awarded for their innovativeness and hard work alongside the Africa Tourism Leadership Awards. Youth In tourism Innovation Awards were won by Eugene Allotey from Ghana (winner), while the first and second runner ups were Nomsa Gcina Dlamini and Jean Mac Kenna both from South Africa. Rodger Foster, CEO and Managing Director of Airlink scooped the Destination Africa – Lifetime Award out of the nine Africa Tourism Leadership awards that were won by other tourism players across Africa.
ATLF 2021 with Rwanda Tourism Week was a hype of activity which included five days of exhibition, face to face networking which was concluded by awards gala dinner that was held at a colourful ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre.