FESTAC ’22: Africa is Destined to be the Largest Powerhouse of the World – Cuthbert Ncube, ATB Chairperson

Continental Africa has been described as one with a huge potential to be the largest powerhouse of the world in so many areas, especially in the tourism sector.

This was pointed out by the Chairperson of African Tourism Board, Hon. Cuthbert Ncube recently while making a presentation during one of the sessions at the just concluded FESTAC “22 which took place between 23rd and 28th May, 2022 on the theme,” My Africa ,Your Africa, Our Africa“, at Verde Hotel, Zanzibar.

He started his presentation by expressing delight at the initiative brought by the Chairman of Inspire Africa Mr. Yinka Abioye, the CEO, Grace Mumo and the entire team for reviving FESTAC, pointing to the fact that tourism has a greater potential to contributing positively to the economic development of the continent, also acknowledging the support of Zanzibar as the host city for FESTAC “22, and Tanzania as a country with a potential of surpassing the current 25% GDP which the sector contributes to her economy.

“As we once again inaugurate after so many decades of the great FESTAC event, on behalf of the African Tourism Board, may we salute the Chairman of Inspire Africa Mr. Yinka Abioye, the dreamer; CEO, Grace Mumo ,the convener; the advisors, legal minds, and the entire team who have remained a pillar of strength and of course a great team that has affirmed to bringing back the flame of FESTAC which objective is to say, Africa, arise once again, it is my Africa, it is your Africa, it is our Africa.

“As we celebrate this great occasion, a great initiative indeed, realizing our worth in Africa as Africans within the paradigm of the tourism sector which by the way is one of the key factors and growth driver of the continent’s economy contributing to a healthy gross domestic product of Africa.

“Here we are priding ourselves with Zanzibar, the hidden jewel of the continent and tourism earnings to the Island that will surpass the now 25% earnings to the GDP’s contribution.

“Africa is destined to be the largest powerhouse of the world, now is the time to drive our proud continent to her glory”, Ncube noted.

He further delved into the unreasonably over reliance of Africans on the colonisers, frowning at the unwary incursions with imputnity on the continent that has dealt a great blow on Africa without them having a remorse rather than seeing the continent as a space where they could manipulate without any accountability.

Ncube also called on Africans to have a well integrated approach in the scheme of things that would create a synergy among member States devoid of any kind of interference from the external forces that have rendered the continent incapacitated, thereby calling on all tourism players to be more holistic in their engagements.

“Dear friends, imagine what Africa would look like if only and only we desire to have a cohesive, integrated, well-coordinated, crafted and designed approach without exterior influences.

“As we advocate for a reinforcement of our experiences, our diversity and our cultures, in developing our tourism sector with a more integrated and inclusive holistic approach from all stakeholders.

“May I applaud Zanzibar for being the first to host this engagement where the impact is greater, you are our pacesetter and we thank you”,he further noted.

ATB Chairman pointed to the importance of having leaders that share the same frame of reference with the yearnings of the people, thereby pleading with stakeholders, to synergise with government agencies through which thier engagements would bring about a paradigm shift in the administration of things for a better appreciation of Africa’s domestic market.

Ncube charged Africans to be more closer in their approach to things rather than operating in Silos, especially in their quest to recovering the tourism sector, pointing to the enormous potential the continent has which has drawn the attention of the world .

“We need leaders who will reflect the needs and realities for motherland Africa and by the way, with all seven continents of the world, Africa has remained the sort after region of the world in terms of economic advantage from the so called advanced regions of the world.

“So this is the right time, as we rise from the shackles of the pandemic to put ourselves together, dismantling the borders that has separated us as brothers and sisters, as member States, as tourism boards, as service providers who feed in the mainstream of tourism value chain and stakeholders of the broader tourism sector, he further said.

Ncube believes that tourism would make a greater contributions to the GDP of the continent as the world drives towards full recovery among other things while emphasing the urgent need to prioritize domestic arrivals rather than relying solely on international arrivals alone.

“And by the way, I am convinced that travel and tourism will remain as one of the key factors and growth drivers of Africa’s economies with its contribution to 8% of our domestic product.

“That being said colleagues, we need a total shift from the international arrival syndrome and by the way the international market should come as a compliment base line towards our gross domestic product and therefore we need to shift to a more domestic arrival approach and this should be our emphasis now more than ever”, ATB Chairman emphasized.

In his conclusion, Ncube frowned at the alienation of the custodians of the cultures by the designers of African tourism programmes which basically focused on money making rather than looking as well at the human angles which has affected many African communities, therefore calling a for total restructuring of the sector to create room for a sustainable tourism.

He also touches on the need to engage the African youths which have so much untapped potential especially in the technological space that can as well be used to create an enabling environment for tourism to further thrive in the continent through such ideas, but questioned the fact that, governments at all levels failed by not being responsive in that aspect and resulting to Africans not appreciating the gifts that the continent has been bestowed with.

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