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“We need an African tourism brand” says Seychelles Minister St.Ange at the African Union Ministerial working group in Seychelles

March 18, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Seychelles-TravelAlain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture has called for the creation of comprehensive tourism brand image for the African continent.

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture addressing the African Union Ministerial working Group meeting in Seychelles

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture addressing the African Union Ministerial working Group meeting in Seychelles

Minister St.Ange’s appeal was echoed in first meeting of Ministerial working group of tourism sector development strategy for Africa AU Agenda, 2063. In his opening remarks as he addressed the African Union Ministerial working group Minister St.Ange send a strong message to African leaders to make Africa more visible and more recognised in the world of tourism.

“The African continent needs an African Brand. We need a brand that will promote our region in tourism trade fairs. We need a brand that will work hand in hand with United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the UNWTO body” Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minster responsible for Tourism said.

Minister St.Ange claimed that when African States unite under an Africa brand of Tourism the challenges being currently being felt and the rivalries on the continent can be seen with a fresh look. He said the time is right and opportune for Africa to work with Africa.

“We Africans need to agree to grow our tourism cake. We can assure everyone that growing that cake does not mean African Union will be marketing our respective countries. We will always be the best in marketing our respective country, but the Africa tourism brand will help increase our visibility and make us more relevant in the world of tourism” Minister St.Ange said.

Out of 1 billion tourists recorded in the world, only 5 % travelled to Africa. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the South Africa Minister for Tourism said the African continent should find ways to gain its fair share of this global market. He said that South Africa is a perfect case study, where the government realised the huge potential of tourism as a vector of economic growth and for creating jobs. Minister Marthinus said there is no reason, why this should not be happening on African continent.

“ We must know what we are up against in the world. Just two years ago it was announced by the UNWTO that for the first time ever we had reached one billion mark in international tourism. By 2013, it was almost double to1.8 billion. The aircraft linking us will almost double to 56 thousand by 2013. If we look where those tourists are going, we can see that we are lagging behind the rest of the world. We must decide how we get our fair share of this tourism market’’ Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said.

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said South Africa strongly believed tourism in Africa should be recognised structurally, politically and policy wise.

“ As South Africa, we also don’t believe that the AU should take over the marketing of our countries, as African Union Director of Infrastructure and Energy put it. African countries must continue to market their own destinations and then we must also decide how far we push our other issues and challenges forward’’

The South African Minister also spoke about visa constraints for tourists travelling in Africa. Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk emphasised the need for African leaders to shift to a more integrated technology in visa application approach.

Regis Immongault, the Gabon Minister for Industry & Mines, who also holds the responsibility for Tourism in the Gabon Government, argued that Africa cannot reap the full potential of global tourism due to lack of air connectivity and better infrastructures such as hotels. He said African countries should take actions to increase inflow of tourisms arrival on the continent.

The proposal of the African tourism brand and the abolition of visa for African cross borders were issues tabled at the meeting attended by the African Union Commissioner, head delegation of African Union member states and Tourism Ministers from Africa at the Seychelles meeting. The aim of the discussions was to identify and implement interventions required to optimise the role of tourism as an engine and catalyst for economic development and growth in Africa. The African Union delegates also discussed the strategy for Africa 2063.

Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy spoke of the need for Brand Africa.

“We need a Brand Africa if we want to become the number one choice as a tourism destination. We need to promote joint marketing packages, promotion of cross border tourism attractions and discuss the tackling of visa constraint”.

Jean Paul Adam, the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs also spoke of an African tourism brand, which will bring together the strength of all existing national and regional efforts. “This will be a win win for Africa and for all Member States” Minister Adam said.

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