Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi – President of Botswana
Africa should take advantage of technology and create platforms for inclusive engagements to define a paradigm for the continent’s travel and tourism sector. This is according to the President of Botswana, who believes that the one of the ways the continent can keep up with the next tourism frontier is to adopt innovation and technology.
Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi said this when he officially opened the 5th Africa Tourism Leadership Forum at the Gaborone International Convention Centre today, October 25 and which he stressed, provides a good platform to think about smart ways of driving tourism.
“The 2022 event challenges us to work smarter as Africa taking advantage of technology, as well as ensuring maximum returns on investment in the tourism industry. Having gone through the list of speakers I am confident that we will conclude the 2022 event with a robust implementable plan for the betterment of the lives of our people,” he said.
The President underscored the significance of sector stakeholders working together for the common good of Africa’s tourism.
He opined: “Our Continent is renowned for its beauty and the quality of establishments and high service excellence. Now more than ever before, we must continue to maintain this enviable reputation. However, to harness this potential we have to work together. The only way to achieve success and unprecedented tourism growth, and job creation, is by coming together, capitalizing on each other’s strengths and working as one. This I believe will get the tourism industry back to its pre pandemic and 2019 performance levels, which we hope should be reached by 2024.”
Dr. Masisi also advocated for the adaptation of inclusive approaches to nurturing Africa’s tourism economy.
“Tourism has a deep and wide value chain, which offers many Small Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) opportunities, and we should look at opportunities to enhance value chains amongst ourselves as Africans. Africa should also nurture its tourism economy so that it promotes inclusive growth, so that those who were previously disadvantaged are empowered in a meaningful way, which includes unlocking the true potential of SMMEs,” he emphasised.
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Philda Nani Kereng stressed the need for progressive policies for countries in Africa to expedite actions towards full recovery with Botswana as a shinning example.
“Rising from COVID-19 just calls on all of us to recognize a few very important things that must be done: good governance, progressive policies, inclusivity, people at the core, new experiences, diverse activities and these are the things that you have come to talk about.
“You have come to a place that is COVID-cushioned, that is safe, that is secure, that has a big smile, and when we smile, we say Botswana is ready. You have come to place that you can learn from in terms of our story of how we have built our economy from nothingness and we can now welcome you to enjoy our diverse culture, food, our nice smiles and our hospitality, and I know the brilliant ideas that would be expressed here would help propel our country forward,” she maintained.
The Minister revealed that the Southern African country would host three editions of the Forum starting with this year’s.
CEO of Africa Tourism Partners, organisers of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum, Kwkaye Donkor expressed appreciation to the President for showing interest and building a robust tourism sector for Botswana and providing support for this year’s event.