The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and South Africa’s Department of Tourism met early this month in Pretoria, to find new ways of boosting the continent’s tourism industry through a continent wide Action Plan.
The overall objective of the African Union’s Tourism Action Plan (TAP) is to increase sustainable tourism development in Africa through better coordination and implementation of tourism activities among member states.
Adopted at the AU Summit in 2004, TAP was developed under the guidance of the African Ministers of Tourism, in partnership with the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and Commission for Africa (CAF), with the main aim of unlocking Africa’s potential as a destination for tourism investment. NEPAD’s role is to guide this process.
Reviewing TAP’s achievements, NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination, Ms Estherine Fotabong, commended the significant work that its partner South Africa has played in advancing tourism in Africa and improving the living conditions of the people in Southern Africa.
The South African delegation led by Chief Director Africa and Middle East Department of Tourism, Ms Bulelwa Seti, reaffirmed its commitment to continue working with the AU and NEPAD so as to attract more international visitors and tourism investment as a catalyst for socio-economic development.
It was agreed during the meeting that areas of future cooperation will focus on better coordination of tourism activities between Regional Economic Communities and African member states, as well as to develop National Tourism Action Plans for member states in line with the continent-wide Tourism Action Plan.
Africa’s youthful population was identified as a key driver in boosting the tourism sector.
Further cooperation will also focus on setting up a tourism fund that will benefit member states in their planning and coordinating efforts of tourism activities.