Launch of the 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Summit and Innovation Challenge






23 May 2022

Director of Ceremonies, Mr. Fillon !Gao!aseb

Ms. Elise Hashikutuva, Deputy Director of Tourism Development at MEFT

Dr. Erling Kavita, Associate Dean from NUST

Mr. B. Mbidzo, Head of Business Development and Operation At Namibia

Tourism Board

Ms. Netumbo Nashandi, Chairperson FENATA

Mr. Soni Nrupesh, Media and Awareness Committee

Mr. Shoki Kandjimi, Media and Awareness Committee Coordinator

Representatives of the Namibia Tourism Board,

Representatives from various Ministries, NGO’s and Support Agencies,

Representatives from Tourism Sector Associations and Forums,

Invited guests,

Colleagues in Tourism,

Esteemed Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me extend my greetings to you all this morning!

I am very grateful to be amongst you all today, and I am always delighted to serve when called upon to for significant national events, more so in the tourism sector that means so much to employment creation in Namibia.

Moreover, I am honoured as the Office in charge of the Erongo region, to firstly welcome you to our region, while not taking the essence away for the main purpose for which we are all gathered here, which is, to address you on the occasion of the launch of the 4th Edition of Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge (AYITS).

The Government of the Republic of Namibia through the Ministry of

Environment, Forestry and Tourism won the bid to host Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge for a three (3) year period (2022 – 2024) in collaboration with Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) and United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The event will be hosted in close collaboration with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service (NSYNS), Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation (MHETI), and Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).

The Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge (AYTIS) is the “one and only” Pan-Africa Youth and Start-ups in Tourism, Summit on the continent. It serves as a platform for youth and start-ups in tourism, travel, hospitality, aviation, academia and all related industries to connect, engage, learn, innovate and grow. This is an exclusive platform being provided to innovative African youth in the sector seeking funding, partnership and mentorship opportunities to present their projects to the global marketplace in order to find the required support.

It is also a platform to invite innovative ideas and solutions that goes beyond technology but are related to the travel and tourism industry for review and adjudication by a preeminent panel of industry leaders. Those shortlisted candidates will be introduced to industry leaders for mentorship and potential funders.

Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen

The Summit is aimed amongst others to:

  • Support and guide Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) businesses (leisure and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE)) in navigating post COVID-19 “new world” challenges and opportunities – technology, financing and market access.
  • Provide career guidance for fresh high school and university graduates interested in travel and tourism and MICE eco-system careers.
  • Encouraging a robust innovation culture in tourism based on skills development for business growth.

Additionally, the Summit is expected to bear the following benefits to the country:

  • Create greater awareness on the importance of tourism and how the sector can positively impact livelihoods;
  • Expose high school and university graduates interested in travel and tourism, to different career paths in the tourism sector;
  • Exposed Namibian youth to employment opportunities within the sector through networking, market access and insights into Africa Tourism Supply Chain, as well as empowerment to come up with innovative ideas;
  • As well as provide insights into funding, business recovery and continuity opportunities between start-ups established and big industry stakeholders across tourism industry.

Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentleman, During the last decade, Africa has experienced an increase in international arrivals with an average annual growth rate of 5%, in coherence with the world’s rate (5%), dynamizing national economies and their contribution to their communities. In 2019, the continent received 71.9 million international arrivals and 38.5 USD billion in international tourism receipts, which represents the 9% of total exports of the region.

In the Namibia context, the country has been experiencing an everincreasing tourist arrivals trend from 1992 to 2019 before the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the tourist arrivals declined by 89.4% in 2020 which was a mere 169,565 compared to

1,595,973 tourists recorded in 2019.

Therefore, the Summit is anticipated to help re-positioning the country as a business and tourism destination by presenting an update post COVID-19 tourism recovery strategy for 2022-2024.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is mandated to “develop and support tourism”, hence, this Summit is ideal to restore confidence and re-activate the tourism sector in order to rebuild a more resilient tourism economy in future.

My Office is fully committed to support more events and conferences to the Erongo Region and Namibia in particular, as we believe in the positive economic impact of such events. Not so long ago we welcomed the World Skills Africa Competition which was a huge success for Namibia. Currently we are hosting the Discover Namibia Intra Africa Trade Expo and Business Summit 23 -25 May 2022, which of course this event is the extended part of it.

These events, ladies and Gentleman are always mutually beneficial, as both the participants and host destinations get a good exposure and benefits.

Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentleman

I will conclude by saying that Travel and Tourism Sector has become a lifeline for many sectors, industries and people in the country and globally. It is therefore important that all of us combine effort in some way or another to support the sector, especially during its current recovery process. I would also like to therefore request all those that are involved in the organizing of this national event to put in utmost efforts to make it a sound success.

Finally, it is now my honour to Officially Launch the 4th edition of Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge.


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