African Travel & Tourism Stakeholders Scramble For Exhibition Stands At The 4th Africa Youth In Tourism Innovation Summit

Meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions/events (MICE) tourism was one of the facets of tourism impacted by the global spread of COVID-19 which resulted in the sector experiencing a lull in face-to-face meetings and exhibitions. With the world relaxing Covid-19 restrictions, the host of the Summit, Namibia Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) is set to host its first travel and tourism international exhibition showcase from 27 to 29 July 2022.  Both the Summit and exhibition aim to restore confidence and re-activate the tourism sector to rebuild a more resilient tourism economy in the future.

The exhibition will run concurrently with the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit being held in collaboration with the UNWTO, BDO, and facilitated by Africa Tourism Partners. Over 250 physical and 1000 virtual delegates are expected to attend the Summit from over 35 countries.  Delegates and faculty of speakers include youth in tourism, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small enterprises to reconnect, engage, learn, and do business from 26 to 29 July 2022.

MICE Expert and Managing Director of CPL eventsPortugal, Linda Pereira commend the organizersfor including the exhibition as part of the Summit and thinks it is a great opportunity for tourism stakeholders. “The pandemic had a massive negative impact on business, the MICE sector, and economic growth. It is therefore prudent to join exhibitions and events now that the world has opened exhibitions and trade shows which are economic drivers and accelerators for a rapid return to business growth. An exhibition during the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit will be a primary window to customers, a showcase to the offering that Namibia can show the world. Participation in the exhibition will demonstrate that the industry is alive in Namibia and drive sales, attract investment and accelerate promotion”.  Linda Pereira added that the tradeshow is the gateway to economic recovery.                

On another note, entries for the 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge have been closed. There has been an overwhelming response from innovators which resulted in 15 African countries entering the challenge. The number of 2022 entries increased by 95% as compared to 2021 entries. Commenting on the number of entries received by the Chairperson of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge committee. Barry Clemens attributed the increase to the noble idea by the organizers of the challenge to extend the deadline to allow more Youth to submit their projects. “It has been very pleasing to see that the extension of the deadline has brought us many entries to our youth in the tourism innovation challenge. I believe the extra push and effort toward reaching out to the various youth institutions made a big difference and helped expose the opportunities the challenge brings to the youth wanting to enter the sector”.

“As much as we are pleased with the quantity so are we with the quality of the ideas of the youth out there. There are some brilliant minds out there that really can make a difference in our industry. However, some entries as brilliant as the idea may be, have shown that there is a big need for support of these minds as there seems to be a lack of understanding of how a business works and needs to be presented in a pitch deck or business plan. Specifically, understanding commercial principles needs support. But this is exactly what our challenge is there for to bring out so we can raise awareness to these items and support the start-ups so they can be a success and become sustainable drivers in the economy” Barry Clemens reiterated.

Among the faculty of speakers is Hon. Pohamba Shifeta – Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Namibia, Vincent Oparah – Policy Analyst, AUDA-NEPAD, Alex Mabunda, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer – Ntiyiso Consulting Group, South Africa, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi – Minister, Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Namibia,  Achma Asokan-Foster – CEO, Airline Pros International, USA, Prof. Diane Abrahams – Director, School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Dan Dsouza – Innovation and Venture Programmes Expert & Advisor, UK, Hon. Kantema-Gaomas – Deputy Minister, Ministry of Sport, Youth & National Services, Namibia, Hon. Heather Mwiza Sibungo – Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry And Tourism, Themba Khumalo – Acting CEO, South African Tourism, Dr. Carmen Nibigira – Country Director for ESP, Gabon and Susan Akporiaye – National President of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies.

The 2021 Summit was host by Ghana Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana with over 250 physical attendees and 1800 virtual delegates.

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