Celebrating the International Day of the African Child, African Tourism senior executives discussed the importance of youths on development of tourism in Africa. The virtual celebration to mark the event was organized by the African Tourism Board (ATB) and attracted over 250 virtual participants including members of the board. Secretary of the ATB Ambassadors Forum Abigail Olagbaye from Nigeria was the event moderator.
Julian Blackbeard, one of the speakers at the African Tourism Board celebration said that 30 percent of the working force in Africa is made up of youths with a reality that youths are the future travelers and key players in Africa’s tourism development.
She noted that education on tourism would play a leading role to impart African children and youths with skills that would empower them to participate actively in the tourism industry.
It is now high time that children and parents travel in their own countries within Africa to visit heritage sites other than thinking of visiting Europe and America for their holidays.
Dr. Walter Mzembi, the former Zimbabwean Minister for Tourism, noted the importance of education for African children and youth with a bias on tourism through a teaching curriculum in schools within the continent.
School trips to various tourist attraction sites would also mean to equip children and youth with exposure and knowledge that will make them good leaders for tomorrow’s tourism development in Africa.
Speakers also expressed their views on quality education for children in Africa, free movement for children traveling with their parents, and free visas for children traveling on family trips to countries within the continent.
Ndiphiri Ntuli, another speaker during the virtual celebration of International Day of The African Child, said that tourism is one of the key economic drivers to create jobs for youth in Africa.
Governments in Africa have embraced tourism as their nation’s key economic garner with a value chain through airlines, travel, and jobs. About 20,000 people, mostly youth, are working at South Africa’s Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg serving over 60,000 passengers who use the airport every day, Ntuli noted.
Education for children and skills training of the youth were key issues which speakers have expressed in their views.