The SADC and RETOSA meetings in Mauritius this week was an opportunity for Seychelles and Zimbabwe to speak with delegates and press of major tourism events coming to Africa.
The world is still reliving the successful FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa, which did Africa proud, and the world has just witnessed the closing ceremony of another successful annual Carnaval International de Victoria hosted this year by Seychelles and La Reunion and as usual held in early March in the Seychelles. Such world-recognized events are positioning Africa firmly on the traveling routes of holiday makers from far and wide.
In July 2012, Seychelles was chosen to host Routes Africa, and in August 2013, Zimbabwe and Zambia will jointly be hosting the UNWTO General Assembly. Both these events bring the world to Africa, and both these events require Africa to showcase itself as proud hosts.
Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, spoke about the Routes Africa forum that will be held in Seychelles from July 8-10. Minister St.Ange said that the Routes Africa 2012 forum in the Seychelles will bring airlines, civil aviation authorities, and tourism boards together to see how the challenges facing the world of aviation and tourism can best be tackled. Alain St. Ange said: “The world economics is changing fast, the aviation climate has changed, and it is so important for everyone to meet and discuss the situation on hand instead of throwing in the towel. Cooperation and the spirit of working together is today more important than ever before.
“Seychelles is hoping to work with the Routes organizers to add a new dimension to Routes Africa this year. Cruise ships bring to Africa more and more the possibilities for fly-cruise tourism, and this is dependent on good air access.
“Seychelles believes that the triangular approach to tourism (airline, civil aviation authority, and tourism board) can be further expanded to touch shipping as this remains a clear potential. This is why we are looking to Mr. Hans J. Niebergall, the President and CEO of SAARPSCO (South Asia and Africa Regional Port Stability Cooperative) to have major cruise ship companies and agents to also join in Routes Africa 2012 and open new avenues between Europe and the African continent and its islands.”
Dr. Bradah Maunganidze, the Permanent Secretary for the Zimbabwe Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry, spoke about the UNWTO General Assembly, which will be jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia. “The waterfalls of Zimbabwe and Zambia will be the backdrop of this world tourism event. We are leaving no stones unturned as we prepare to welcome the world of tourism to Africa. Our continent has it all, and this coming UNWTO will be another unique opportunity to showcase a world treasure to delegates joining the next UNWTO General Assembly, which will be held from August 24-29, 2013,” said Dr. Bradah Maunganidze of Zimbabwe.
The success of these important events depends on Africa uniting behind the events. The FIFA World Cup in South Africa was the success it was because Africa stood behind South Africa, and this is why both Seychelles and Zimbabwe were out to tell Africa to join hands for the two back to back tourism events that will be held in Africa in 2012 and 2013.