• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Promotion of national, heritage sites, key to boost tourism in Africa – Pratt

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Memunatu Pratt, the Sierra Leonean Tourism Minister, has said sufficient marketing of both natural and heritage sites in the West Africa sub region is key to boosting tourism in Africa.

Speaking during the welcome party of the 2022 Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM), at Wave Beach, Elegushi, Lagos on Sunday, Pratt said to leverage tourism for economic growth and development, connectivity is also essential.

The Fun/Welcome Party is part of the activities lined up for the 18th Akwaaba African Travel Market scheduled for October 31st to November 1,2022.

Speaking further, she said that marketing the tourism sites in West Africa will further create awareness for tourists who are ever ready to visit and explore new things.

She pointed out that countries in the region have not been able to adequately market tourism sites in the region to make tourists know where the sites are.

She advocated for an integrated marketing approach for the region’s efforts to yield the desired results.

“One of the things we are not doing enough is marketing. Our marketing of our natural resources, products and sites has not been enough. Our marketing has been towards the domestic, may be consumer and trade related. But we have not been able to market West Africa as it should, wherein people will know what is here and what is there. We know the tour operators are doing well but an integrated approach will make a lot of difference.

“Today, people are talking about the Economic Community of West Africa States(ECOWAS) Visa wherein if you have an ECOWAS Visa as a tourist, you can go to Accra or Lome. So, we have to think about integrated marketing. Let us also put together the facilities and the opportunities that are available. There should also be airline arrangements. If somebody comes with an ECOWAS Visa, there should be some discounts.

“What is important is that it drives businesses; you see people coming to do hotels, coming to expand entertainment facilities, sponsoring local artists, film industry, it all drives the process of the development of the economy,” Pratt said.

Marketing, she said should not only be strategic but should also be in an integrated fashion, but she however lamented that the countries in the sub region are not on the same pedestal.

Read also: Hospitality, travel businesses essential for tourism development – Jubril

She called on the sub region to begin to advocate and conscientise by providing the kind ownership that is required, adding that getting people to understand that this is the way to go at the level of government, civil society, the media and also the private sector is a good way to go.

The 18th edition of the Akwaaba African Travel Market 2022 is currently happening at at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with Wakanow, one of the leading travel companies in West Africa, as a partner.

Akwaaba African Travel Market is a yearly international travel, tourism, and hospitality event, which has become one of the top five travel events in Africa and the leading tourism marketing platform in West Africa. Over the years, it has attracted exhibitors from over 20 countries.

For the 2022 edition, where over 3000 visitors are expected from all over Africa, the major highlights will be the second edition of the Africa Travel 100 Women Awards, the Youth in Tourism Conference and the Medical Tourism session.

In his remark, the organiser of the Akwaaba Travel Fair, Ikechi Uko who lauded the partnership, described Wakanow as a great African brand and one of the biggest travel companies in Africa said, “We are happy to associate with such a powerful organisation to grow tourism and travel in Africa.

“The partnership with Wakanow for this year’s event is special, because this year marks the return of the Africa Travel 100 Women’s award at Akwaaba. We will be joined by women of high influence from over 25 countries in Africa for the awards. Wakanow and Akwaaba are winning brands of Africa,” he declared.