African tourism experts expect better communication to support industry’s sustainable recovery

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African tourism experts on Wednesday said the continent expects the rest of the world to help bring its tourism industry back to financial fitness in a sustainable way.

“If you look at South Africa for example, when we have a protest or something that makes it in the international news, all of a sudden, the whole country is violent, South Africa is bad,” CEO of Tourism Business Council of South Africa Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said during the three-day World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town.

The continent faces the same situation as South Africa does, and Africa’s branding and communication is not sufficient, he said in a session about Africa’s tourism recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Africa needs a scenario plan when there is a “tourism crisis,” thereby knowing how it is going to respond and build confidence among tourists and ensuring people knows the real situation, he said.

There is confusion in people’s mind about Africa, and they “still think African as a country,” said Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, founder of tourism marketing agency Destinate and former CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

The private sector in Africa’s tourism industry should be more involved in making travel easier by offering travelers better and clear information, she said.

She expects Africa can break down perceptions and stereotypical ideas people still have about it and get them to rethink what Africa is about.

David Germain, regional director for Africa and the Americas of Seychelles Tourism Board, suggested using social media for marketing, as many people refer to social media to get confidence or insight in travel.

If people get information from someone who is traveling, they can have a sort of confidence, he said.

Concluded on Wednesday, this year’s World Travel Market Africa included a business-to-business tourism exhibition and other events, aiming to bring benefits and opportunities to travel professionals in Africa

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