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Travel Indaba goes big on investments and growing Domestic tourism

Investments are to advance tourism in Africa

Mbalenhle Sithebe and Carly Abdul-Rasheed

“To advance tourism, regions need to share their experiences regarding investments” This was a sentiment shared by Tourism stakeholders and investors at the Tourism Investment Seminar held at the Travel Indaba 2019.

The purpose of the seminar was for the regions to share tips about overcoming challenges relating to tourism investments across the continent. This includes details about how some projects failed and how should potential investors prevent such risks. The seminar had different presentations about tourism investment opportunities, developing finance for tourism projects, finding co-investors, technical advisory support and feasibility studies.

Investing in the tourism industry plays a huge role in community development, job creation and advertising the countries as tourist destinations. 

Roland Vorwerk said Mozambique is currently offering three sectors for investments at the Maputo Special Reserve.

“The site tenders are still open, closing on 15 May 2019. These sites include wild and sea life attraction.”

More than 12 000 community developments have been generated since the beginning of these investment projects. This includes children programmes, honey projects and Information Technology training and skills.

The Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) indicated that their investments have created 3000 jobs in rural South Africa, with Limpopo and Eastern Cape being the fasted growing tourism investment destination, especially in the hospitality sector. In the past three years, the IDC has focused on supporting emerging businesses.

Thembani Mabasa from the IDC said it was important for companies who seek investment to match the criteria. “We only invest in projects that are guaranteed to succeed and be able to make a profit to repay the loan.”

Mabasa advised investors to do a proper market analysis and assess the viability of the project. He added that tourism investments require patience because they take 5-7 years before investors see returns.

Lindokuhle Hlatshwayo from Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) said they were available to provide technical support to Public Private Partnership (PPP) inorder for them to succeed no matter the magnitude of the project.

“Most importantly GTAC will provide PPP’s with an advisory board to assess the feasibility of the project prior investing,” said Hlatshwayo.

Domestic Tourism Business conversation

The first session of the business conversation kicked off with an interesting topic that engaged attendees.

The conversation was facilitated by Rashid Toefy and invited panellists, Rick Taylor and Jeffreys Manjengwa to discuss how we can grow Domestic Tourism within the province.

Domestic Tourism is described as tourism within Africa between Africans and has been seen as a game changer when it comes to alleviating poverty. It generates revenue for the provinces and when looked at from a continental view, it adds value to Africa.

Rick Taylor divided Domestic Tourism into four tiers.

1. Continental Level

2. Regional Level i.e East, West, Northern or Southern Africa.

3. National Level

4. Provincial Level

Domestic Tourism should be viewed as wide as international tourism is.

"The only challenge is making ourselves excited about tourism in our own country so that we can be personal marketers to people who do not know. We are all so passionate about Africa but we need to voice out this passion to outsiders," said Taylor.

Manjengwa spoke about the value of experiences in different countries. People often based experiences on what they already know and what they think would happen. 

"We need to market our countries as exciting tourist destinations, so the knowledge and first-hand experience come into play. If we as natives do not explore the country, how will we persuade tourists to explore?" He added.

Day three of the Travel Indaba is expected to start off on a high note as President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to show face.

 

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