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African Heroes: Bellydancer, Popstar, Fashion Designer, a Tourism Dream Team, and a Swimmer

African Heroes: Bellydancer, Pop Star, Fashion Designer, a Tourism Dream Team, and a Swimmer
Written by George Taylor

The African Tourism Board has been in the front row while this emerging crisis is unfolding.

SKAL, the largest travel industry association always says in tourism to do business with friends. Tourism unites us, not divides. Africans know this.

Africa is becoming united in wanting visitors to stay home, so tourists from around the world can be welcomed back to their beautiful continent. Africa can’t wait to welcome visitors back with open arms.

To achieve this, Africa adopted the recommendation by the UNWTO saying: “By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow.”

Zimbabwe just released a destination video called “On a lighter note,” the country and the entire continent can be proud of. Zimbabwe also can’t wait to welcome visitors back to their destination of wonders.

A belly dancer in South Africa performs online, a fashion producer in Libya changed production to keep Africa healthy, and the African Tourism Board put an international dream team together that works tirelessly behind the scene to save the continent’s money-making travel and tourism industry.

Mother Africa has too many heroes to be listed and to be named.

Africa is emerging as a continent that is confronting the deadly virus with heroism from south to north and from east to west of the continent. Among these heroes are many members of the travel and tourism industry.

Under the leadership of the African Tourism Board and former UNWTO Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai and Alain St. Ange, former minister of tourism Seychelles, a task force was established to stand behind the travel and tourism industry. There is no lack of interest with countries and their stakeholders across the continent getting organized to save one of the largest currency earners for Africa – the Travel and Tourism Industry.

Rifai recruited a dream team for his African Task Force. They include Gloria Guevara, CEO of WTTC, the World Travel and Tourism Council; the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica and head of Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre; Louis D’Amore, founder of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism; Professor Geoffrey Lipman, President of ICTP and SunX; the former minister of Tourism for Egypt Hisham Zazou; the Hon. Secretary of Tourism for Kenya Najib Balala; Dho Young-shim head of STEP in South Korea; and Linda L. Nxumalo, Eswatini Tourism Authority; among other important tourism leaders from throughout Africa. They are supported by African Tourism Board Ambassadors and Board members from more than 40 countries. Cooperation agreements are in the pipeline with many multi-national and regional organizations in the public and private sectors.

African Tourism needs the support of the world, and this may be big business.

Africa remains one of the best places on the globe to invest in times of crisis. The African Tourism Board is ready to facilitate an introduction to get a discussion going.

The African Tourism Board was founded in 2018 by Juergen Steinmetz, Publisher of eTurboNews who remains to be the founding Chair and current CMCO of ATB. Within one year, the African Tourism Board grew into a pan African NGO under the leadership of their Chairman Cuthbert Ncube, CEO Doris Woerfel, COO Simba Mandinyenya, and President Alain St.Ange.

Samaki Mkuu, the artist formerly known as the Kenyan swimming ace Jason Dunford, has collaborated with Jus of Jabali Afrika to produce a COVID-19 song to help spread “the message of social distancing to save lives and also express our gratitude to medical professionals around the world battling on the front lines”.

Besides the African Tourism Board stepping up for the largest industry in the world, there are many other great initiatives. A Libyan fashion label has switched from making chic garments to medical gowns.

L: A photo of a coat in Fashion House's winter collection R: Medics wearing Fashion House's scrubs
The scrubs are a change from the usual stylish outfits made by the tailors

Six women are sewing scrubs for doctors and nurses at Fashion House’s clothing factory in Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

They have all volunteered for the work, and some are even sleeping in the factory.

They have made 50 medical outfits so far and they’re now working on a second batch.

Fashion House volunteers making scrubs for medics in Tripoli, Libya

A landlord in Kenya has told his 34 tenants that they do not need to pay their rent for March and April because he understands the coronavirus pandemic has put them in a difficult financial situation.

Michael Munene owns 28 apartments in the western county of Nyandarua for which he charges 3,000 Kenyan shillings ($30; £23) a month.

He also has six commercial units rented out for 5,000 Kenyan shillings a month. If none of his tenants pay, he will lose more than $2,000.

A Belly dancer performs for people online

Nermine Sfar's performance being shown on a mobile phone
People send Nermine Sfar messages while she’s performing

Tunisian belly dancer Nermine Sfar has been showing off her moves in order to keep people at home during the lockdown in the North African nation.

She has been live-streaming a dance from her home every night and millions of people have watched her videos on Facebook in the last week.

It started before the lockdown began – which was Sunday, March 29, for Tunisians – though people at the time were already being encouraged to stay at home.

She dubbed her campaign on social media: “Stay at home and I’ll dance for you.”

It seems to have worked – typically hundreds of thousands tune in each evening, and a video from last week has been viewed almost two million times.

Popstar donates house as a quarantine center

Hamelmal Abate
Hamelmal Abate rose to fame in the 1990s

An Ethiopian pop star has donated a villa for use by people who have to go into quarantine.

Last month, Ethiopia’s government ordered everyone arriving in the country to be quarantined in a hotel at their own expense for 14 days.

Zimbabwe Tourism cannot wait to get visitors back to their amazing country and share this message with the world of potential visitors.

Africa is coming together in times of crisis and great fear.

It’s often said that African sunrises and sunsets are the best in the world. Maybe it’s because Africa is so diverse, the landscape filled with rolling desert dunes, thick jungles, vast open savannahs, and plains full of grazing animals, and there’s nothing quite like watching the sun go down on a tropical beach. Whatever the reason, as the evening draws in, this magnificent continent will leave one spellbound with a sun down, and when dawn rolls back around you won’t want to press the snooze button!

African Heroes include a belly dancer, a fashion designer, and tourism celebrities

The African Tourism Board wants Africa to be one destination of choice to the world.