Africa Travel Association has announced that is set to host 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Kigali, Rwanda on August 28-31,2017.
The conference is aimed at highlighting the opportunities the tourism sector can bring to African economies.
Hosted by the Africa Travel Association (ATA), a division of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the conference is expected to attract African leaders, international investors and travel professionals. This year will highlight how tourism can spur economic growth and job creation across the continent.
In less than 15 years Africa’s travel and hospitality sectors have quadrupled in size, and according to the World Tourism Organization, the continent remains one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia. The sector’s growth presents enormous opportunities provided it is managed sustainably.
The conference, hosted by ATA and the Rwandan Development Board (RDB), will particularly focus on the innovative business models, new technologies and strategic partnerships growing the sector, and recognize the countries and businesses leading the way in sustainable tourism.
President and CEO of the Corporate Council of Africa, Florizelle Liser, said that CCA aims to use the conference to encourage investments and policies that contribute to the sector’s growth.
“The tourism conference will highlight opportunities in the tourism sector and intersecting sectors such as infrastructure, ICT, health, real estate development, and finance. Through strategic partnerships, we will also offer capacity building workshops for travel professionals of all levels,” she said.
Adding: “I look forward to working with [RDB CEO] Ms. Akamanzi and her team at RDB to showcase what Rwanda has to offer.”
This year will be the first time ATA’s Tourism Conference will be hosted in Rwanda, one of East Africa’s premier tourism destinations and one whose sector continues to grow. According to the RDB, Rwanda’s tourism sector generated US$303 million in revenue, in 2014 up from three percent in the previous year.
On the sidelines of what is expected to be a packed agenda, ATA is working with Facebook to deliver training to SMEs in Kigali. ’Boost Your Business’ is a training initiative, developed by Facebook and facilitated by Digify Africa, designed to train and upskill small business owners on how to leverage digital tools to grow their businesses. The training will be held on August 26 at the Kigali Serena Hotel.
The conference also aligns with Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, a national celebration that that creates awareness of the country’s efforts to protect the mountain gorillas and their habit, the jewel of Rwanda’s tourism crown.