It was a cross-pollination of ideas and synergies as Dr. Lydia Ramothibe and Dr. Tshinakaho Seaba both from the Tshwane University of Technology brought representatives from the University of Mpumalanga, University of Pretoria, government representatives and NGOs under one roof.
African Tourism Board Chairperson Mr. Cuthbert Ncube delivered the keynote address at the event on Thursday .
The subject was breaking down the barriers that separate us as a continent.
In his opening remarks, he quoted Kwame Nkrumah by saying “The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart.” He further quoted the words of the late Pan African Congress President Robert Sobukwe on his PAC inaugural speech, “Besides the sense of a common historical fate that we share with other countries of Africa, it is imperative for purely practical reasons that the whole of Africa is united into a single unit, centrally controlled. Only in that way can we solve the immense problems that face the continent”.
As he addressed the audience, Cuthbert longed for the day when the superimposed divisions that divide us as Africans, as men and women can be broken down and we stand together with one purpose of developing this beautiful continent of Africa.
Tourism is such a powerful vehicle and has a tremendous impact on every aspect of our lives, socially and economically. Therefore our appreciation and embracing of Tourism will stimulate wider benefits to the economy, thereby reducing poverty and creating environmental sustainability.
Role of Tourism in Uniting Africa
For years tourism has been one of the stabilizing pillars of the global communities, creating jobs supporting the development and spreading of technology and ideas, boosting productivity, expanding consumer choice and enabling cross-border communication channels and supply chains. Real transformation and unity in Africa need the reversal of many stereotypes and tourism can be at the forefront of transforming knowledge and uniting Africans as a whole.
According to the ATB Chair, the mandates of ATB is to brand and market the continent as a single tourist destination. We believe and therefore advocate for partnerships that will enhance and foster synergies between nations and communities.
Te academic institutions should and must play a pivotal role in shaping and driving the UNWTO Sustainable Development Goals in their approach as they deal with a diverse audience from across the continent.
The ATB CEO reiterated the urgency of empowering and involving women in the mainstream structures of the economy as there are vast opportunities across the divide.
The universities represented at the event pledged to work and collaborate with ATB in fulfilling the mandate and objectives to empower communities for self-reliance and creating community-based projects that will create jobs and eliminate poverty.
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