This is a speech delivered at the 3rd annual Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition held in Johannesburg by Ambassador Faouzou DEME from Senegal…
Dear participants of this panel, I greet you all.
First of all, ladies and gentlemen, accept my respectful tribute to all the panellists and my sincere admiration for the public following us.
Today, I have the honour to speak in front of these imminent personalities, with whom I share this passion for the development of African tourism. And this is an opportunity for me to thank Mr Saul Moboli who has kindly associated me with this reflection to celebrate the African achievements and policies that have made it possible to mitigate the risks of tourism collapse linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If we have individually won the bet, we must be convinced of the implementation of a shared continental vision, to meet the challenges of the moment, among which are, in order of priority, the opening up by air and road which deprives Africans of their desire to come and go, to develop trade, tourism and to maintain the flame of African brotherhood, the love of sharing and unity.
I also have the pleasure of paying a vibrant tribute to Mr Cuthbert Ncube, Executive Chairman of the African Tourism Board (ATB), the tireless soldier of the shared vision of African tourism.
His pleas are still resounding in our hearts and minds, let him be thanked.
Africa, a multiple tourist destination, is facing economic, social and cultural generational changes. Thus, with the technological revolution, everything has changed – even our habits. We must therefore rehabilitate ourselves, re-educate ourselves, train ourselves and embark on the path of transformation and ecological transition. In a word, the re-greening of the ecosystem to stick to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in order to lift our continent out of poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion.
Coming back to the subject of the conference, the subject of our meeting, and referring to Senegal’s tourism policy, I can tell you through my 30 years of experience in the private sector, and in government at the strategic level, that there is a need to restore greater attention and a broad understanding of the cross-cutting nature of tourism and the tourism value chain to support culture, crafts, agriculture, small trades of artisans, and artists for grassroots development that is inclusive.
Tourism must be endogenous! But we focus too much on the big supply chains and foreign brands of global tourism, and this takes us away from our realities, our cultures and it also excludes nationals and Africans from the diaspora from participation in domestic tourism, which is – and which must be – our first market, one of whose objectives is to promote our tourism throughout the world.
Airport infrastructures, the regional express trains, motorways, bridges, training centres, government subsidies, bank loans, suspension of tax debts by States, etc. Beyond the enormous tax pressure imposed on the actors in tourism, and considering most of the tourist companies are informal or emerging, that kills our tourism more.
Moreover, these important government support measures only bear fruit when they are backed by a global vision of African tourism, an African tourism charter, an African tourism code, an African tourism programne to innovate home-grown tourism products that reflect our diversity, identity, values and aspirations that can support the resilience of the sector.
I am convinced that only an institutional support at the level of the African Union, with African investors and investments, through African leadership, that we could restore the image of African tourism and definitively revive the sector of African tourism as a critical economic contributor. We must pool our efforts to be more representative and stronger within the UNWTO to defend and manage the problems of African tourism ourselves. I appeal to our high sense of responsibility and ambassadors of African tourism to finally preside over the destiny of world tourism.
I remind you, dear colleagues, dear panelists and participants, that it is around the union of ideas and means, self-employment, training, the promotion of young people and African know-how that we will find the beautiful letters of nobility of African tourism.
Thank you for your attention.