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Destinations Racing for the Top Spot in Intracontinental Travel

By Tourism News Africa

The 17th edition of Meetings Africa 2023 featured South Africa as a key destination. It was a major success, bringing together exhibitors and buyers across the continent. Launching on a positive start on February 27, it attracted more than 325 exhibitors and buyers from more than 60 nations on the continent and internationally, where it came to a resounding conclusion.

As it is seen as a crucial marketing platform, companies from across the continent participated in creating opportunities. Many individuals expressed an appetite for becoming acquainted with designing engaging marketing campaigns that would position their brands and countries as top destinations in Africa and showcase their distinctive identities.

Building a Nation through Accessibility and Collaboration

Zinhle Nzama, the acting Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), stated that Meetings Africa has a lasting impact because it aims to improve access, collaboration, and knowledge. Nzama also stressed the significance of sustainable tourism practices and the need for the continent to unite as a destination to face challenges successfully.

Themba Khumalo, South African Tourism Acting Chief Executive Officer, said, “Meetings Africa aims to contribute to helping African business events players restart and grow. We want to create opportunities for Africa’s business events sector so that we can all grow back more vital than ever before.”

The benefits of cross-continental collaboration and perception management are immeasurable. Destination marketing is viewed as a means to redefine African narratives, capitalize on opportunities, and help economies expand. Khumalo understood how the tourist industry spurs economic development and that the genuine worth of destination marketing lies in the people and the leadership’s purposeful use of the resources at hand.

The growth of economies

He continued, “Ultimately, it is about getting money into the economy to positively impact the lives of the citizens of a given country.

Patricia Ondeng, the acting CEO of the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), reiterated this opinion. Highlighting that compared to local growth at 47.7 percent, the number of international delegates in Kenya increased by 54.7 percent. It indicated that supporting the tourism industry will help communities, particularly women and young people, who are in need.

Rwanda as a leading destination

Frank Murangwa, the Director of Destination Marketing at the Rwanda Convention Bureau, underlined the significance of focusing the dialogue on leaving a lasting legacy. Events may open many doors, but Murangwa looked at how infrastructure, key sectors, and priority issues unite a nation, especially when discussions about them result in action.

He said, “What has worked in Rwanda is that we had a very clear vision that we wanted to position Rwanda as a hub, and it’s really working out. Looking at where we’ve come in 2013, Rwanda and Kigali were nowhere on the African map to host events, but as we speak, Kigali is number two on the continent, and Rwanda is number three. That came as a result of really concerted efforts from the government but also from the private sector.” 

Government cooperation with the tourism industry is crucial to promoting a destination and expanding a nation’s economy. To welcome more events, Murangwa explained that the government had invested in the country’s aviation and the infrastructure for more convention centres.

Visas for Increased Intracontinental Travel 

One of the most critical factors that contributed to developing a destination—and helped establish Rwanda—was the ease with which one could travel there. 

Many tourists discover that when entering a nation is challenging, they would prefer to go to one that allows them simpler entry. A problem that South Africa currently faces. This results in decline in tourism, which has significant impacts. 

Visas on arrival and visa-free travel offered to African unions and communities supported Rwanda’s efforts to promote cross-continental cooperation. This eventually contributed to the country’s amazing growth and collaborative leadership on display.

Tourism has a significant economic impact that has the potential to have long-lasting effects. It was predicted by the World Travel and Tourism Council that South Africa’s economy would grow at an average rate of 7.6% and that more than ZAR 554.6 billion would be contributed by 2032.

Public-private partnerships provide efficiency and effectiveness as they have the potential to boost economies and destination attractiveness. Intracontinental travel has been on the upswing, and it’s time more African countries continue improving their travel policies. The race has started to ensure a positive trend in implementing progressive visa policies and accessible destinations. 

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