by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – THE opening of trade corridors across the continent must also open pathways for intra-African tourism to thrive, and vice versa.
South African Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, said this as the country hosted Meetings Africa, which has brought some 161 buyers and 216 exhibitors from 13 African countries.
She said the event presented an opportunity to collectively review and realign the African business events industry to one that embraces the increasing inter-connectedness of trade and tourism.
“It is us, the African business events sector, that have to be intentional and strategic in ensuring that we leverage this mutual benefit between trade and tourism,” Sisulu said in Johannesburg.
Sisulu added the business events industry accelerated progress as it is a platform for sharing information and collective engagement.
“This in turn results in innovation and re-invention which are key for economic and professional development and advancement,” she added.
Meetings Africa 2022 is the 16th edition of the continent’s premier business events show.
It is a flagship of the South African National Conventions Bureau (SANCB).
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, SANCB’s Chief Conventions Bureau Officer, said the continent can use its African Continental Free Trade Area (AcFTA) as a springboard to achieving a shared economy.
AcFTA was signed into existence in 2018 and was effectively underway in January 2021.
She said Meetings Africa would aid South Africa’s recovery mainly by focusing on regional buyers.
This aligns with South Africa’s Tourism Industry Recovery Plan.
The plan will also look at reintroducing international buyers to Africa as the COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased.
“Platforms like these allow us to come together as Africa,” Kotze-Nhlapo said.
She added competition and co-operation were vital.
“And then of course, we need to build on our brand together go out there and tell the world that Africa is ready,” Kotze-Nhlapo added.
– CAJ News