Zim set to host Africa Youth in Tourism Conference

Source: Zim set to host Africa Youth in Tourism Conference | The Herald June 30, 2017

Tendai Mbirimi
Tourism has of late become one of the strongest drivers of world trade and prosperity. However, poverty alleviation has remained one of the greatest global challenges. Despite turbulent times for the world’s economies, these basic facts are unlikely to change.

Focusing the wealth creating power of tourism on people who are in need remains an immense task and opportunity.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing and innovative industries contributing about 10 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world.

Tourism has become part of sustainable development goals of many nations across the globe.

The African Union; through the Africa Youth Charter made a ratification for all member states to support the participation of youths in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Zimbabwe, our National Youth Policy clearly defines the role of the youth in economic development.

It is against this background that the Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism is set to host the inaugural edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism at the Zimbabwe international Trade fair in Bulawayo from the 6th to the 9th of September, 2017.

At least 3000 delegates from across Africa and abroad are expected to attend.

Addressing delegates at a stakeholders meeting this week, Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism Patron, Mrs Auxillia Mnangagwa said while this is an international conference, this event will enable Zimbabwean youths to advance brand Zimbabwe.

“This conference presents the Youth in Tourism with a platform to market Brand Zimbabwe as well as engage in dialogues that will enhance their business entrepreneurial skills.

“The conference provides continental exposure to the youth for the expression and fulfilment of their talents, aspirations and career opportunities within the tourism industry,” she said.

Mrs Mnangagwa pointed out that it is important for the Youth in Tourism meet regularly to exchange and share experiences, as well as learning form experts in the sector in order to keep up with the dynamics of the tourism and hospitality industry.

In many countries, tourism acts as an engine for development through foreign exchange earnings and the creation of direct and indirect employment.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourism accounts for at least 10 percent of the world’s exports in services being the fourth largest export sector after fuels, chemicals and automotive products.

Tourism is responsible for around 235 million jobs, or one in every 12 jobs worldwide.

Tourism, in many developing countries is the most viable and sustainable economic development option, and in some countries, the main source of foreign exchange earnings.

Part of this income trickles down to different groups of the society and, if tourism is managed with a strong focus on poverty alleviation, it can directly benefit the poorer groups through employment of locals in tourism enterprises, goods and services provided to tourists, or the running of small and community-based enterprises.

Zimbabwean tourism in recent years has been characterised by two main trends; firstly, the consolidation of traditional tourism destinations, like Victoria Falls; and secondly, a pronounced religious, business and conference arrivals.

There has been a substantial diversification of destinations, and many developing countries have seen their tourist arrivals increase significantly.