It’s the dawn of a new age for the African Attractions industry as the African Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AAVEA) board welcomes CEO Mpume Mabuza as its new President and Chairperson.
Mabuza, who previously served as AAVEA’s Secretary, was elected as the new President and Chair, at a board meeting in April 2023. She takes over from Sabine Lehmann, who founded AAVEA in 2014. As the current CEO of Downtown Music Hub (DTMH), the former Marketing Executive for uShaka Marine World and former Chairperson of the Durban Chamber Tourism Forum, Mabuza brings a wealth of experience and insights into the attractions industry to the AAVEA board.
Her passion for social development, leadership and innovation are reflected in her tertiary qualifications which include a B Com, a post-graduate Diploma in Business Management and an MBA. An avid traveler with a keen sense for adventure, Mabuza is thrilled about this exciting opportunity to lead AAVEA into its next chapter: “I am honored to lead this association with a passionate team, aiming to create a more inclusive and sustainable future for member attractions.
Our focus will be on broadening our membership base to include smaller attractions and to increase our footprint into the rest of the continent, highlighting their stories and experiences while learning from larger attractions. Together, we showcase African attractions’ richness and diversity, providing transformative experiences for visitors.
We’re excited to collaborate with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the global association for attractions, to increase membership and enhance industry competitiveness in Africa. By sharing knowledge, embracing innovation and sustainability, we can unlock the full potential of African visitor attractions.”
Lehmann, who has been appointed to serve on the IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region advisory board as Chair of the Governance Committee, is proud to hand over the reins to Mabuza: “Mpume Mabuza comes with a depth and breadth of experience and is well placed to lead AAVEA into the next chapter. I am excited to see where the association goes as the industry is changing and consumer needs change.”
AAVEA is a membership-driven association, governed by a board of experienced industry professionals, which offers the only educational opportunities for visitor experience and attractions professionals in Africa. While AAVEA began its journey in 2014 as an annual two-day conference for the attractions industry focused on education, training, benchmarking, and networking, it was officially launched as an association in November 2018 and is growing the attractions and visitor experience industry beyond South Africa into the rest of the African continent.