Project Hope Africa is a project to give tourism, especially on the African continent during and after the COVID-19 crisis, a chance to emerge with renewed strength. On average, tourism accounts for 9 to 11 percent of the GDP of African countries. There are also countries that are substantially more dependent on tourism. In times when there are travel restrictions for the destinations and in the source markets on the one hand, on the other hand, some destinations that are not allowing travel at allow is where is tourism is suffering the most. Africa and the African tourism market are falling behind. The result could be unemployment and a new spiral of poverty on a continent where a middle class has just emerged.
The Executive Council of the African Tourism Board (ATB) established the COVID-19 task force and named it Project Hope. This Committee consists of influential individuals from the public and private sectors, including ATB Executive Council members Cuthbert Ncube, Doris Woerfel, Simba Mandinyenya, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Alain St.Ange, and Juergen Steinmetz.
With Project Hope, the African Tourism Board has been taking a lead for the continent in an organized response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the chairmanship of Dr. Taleb Rifai, the former secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Project Hope Task Force concluded a third virtual meeting with tourism leaders from all corners of the African continent and beyond.
Part of the high-level task force is the Hon. Secretary of Tourism Najib Balala from Kenya; the Minister of Tourism for Eswatini Moses Vilakati; Minister Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, Minister of Tourism Sierra Leone; and Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett from Jamaica. Bartlett is also head of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre. The Centre currently has two locations in Africa.
Another high-level executive on the task force is Nigel David, regional Director at WTTC. Members include former ministers of tourism from Egypt, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as heads of tourism boards and CVBs.
The focus of the last meeting was on training. Andrew Muscat presented a tourism and hospitality training portal by the Mediterranean Training Foundation. The group reported a number of initiatives from various parts of the regions.
Felicity Thomlinson of Typsy in Melbourne introduced an educational platform. Typsy is making this platform available to the travel industry and hospitality professionals on a complimentary basis until September. All courses by Typsy are endorsed by the Institute of Hospitality based in the U.K.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis from the UK introduced training modules and manuals by the Hilton Hotel Group. The recommendation for the task force was to influence Hilton to make their modules available to the public.
Louis D’Amore, the founder of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism, will approach the African Security Council for cooperation.
Frank Tetzel, ATB Chair of the Resource Mobilization Committee, invited Google to support the African Tourism Board. Daniel Wagner of Jacobs Media is in touch with UN-DRR and the World Health Organization on a regular basis.
The African Tourism Board (ATB) is a South African-based NGO and not-for-profit company with its primary objective to facilitate, encourage, coordinate, and assist in the development and marketing of sustainable tourism throughout the African Continent. ATB is taking due consideration of the improvement of the livelihood of its people, and the overall development of the continent while at the same time making responsible use of its natural and cultural resources.
More information on the African Tourism Board: www.africantourismboard.com