It would be Africa’s century of opportunity if it explores its vast tourism potential to grow its economies and be a significant economic continent. Quoting World Tourism Organization, WTO; Africa Travel Association, ATA, said in less than 15 years, travel and hospitality sector in Africa, have quadrupled in size, and remains one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, second to Southeast Asia.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, African Travel Association, ATA, a division of Corporate Council on Africa, CCA, in collaboration with Rwandan Development Board, RDB, will in August 28—31, host the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.  The opportunities tourism holds out to Africa’s economies, how to explore tourism to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the continent will be highlighted at the conference.

ATA statement said the conference would attract African leaders, international investors and travel professionals. It also quoted Florizelle Liser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Council of Africa, CCA, saying that CCA aimed to use the conference to encourage investments and policies that would contribute to growth in the sector.

Liser’s words: “The tourism conference will highlight opportunities in the tourism sector and intersecting sectors such as infrastructure, ICT, health, real estate development, and finance. Through strategic partnerships, we will also offer capacity building workshops for travel professionals of all levels.  I look forward to working with RDB CEO Ms Akamanzi and her team at RDB to showcase what Rwanda has to offer”.

Rwanda is leading East African countries in tourism destination.  Rwandan Development Board stated that tourism sector generated $303 million revenue in 2014, a growth of three percent from the previous year. It is the first time ATA will host tourism conference in Rwanda.

ATA statement indicated sideline activity during the conference that would include Facebook training of SMEs in Kigali on August 26 at Kigali Serena Hotel.  It is tagged ‘Boost Your Business’.  Facebook developed the initiative and been facilitated by Digify Africa.  It would equip small business owners on how to use digital tools grow their business.

Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony, a national celebration that creates awareness of the country’s efforts to protect the mountain gorillas and their habit, the jewel of Rwanda’s tourism crown, would also be on the sideline activity at the conference.

ATA was established in 1975.  It serves the public and private sectors international travel and tourism industry. Its membership comprises African governments, tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel sellers and providers, tour operators and travel agents and affiliate industries.  ATA partners African Union Commission, AU, in promoting sustainable development of tourism across Africa.

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