GIS – 03 June 2019: A workshop on FinTech (financial technology) and Tourism, organised by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Economic Development Board under the theme: “The interplay between FinTech and Tourism – The New Wave in Africa”, opened on 1 June 2019 at the Sugar Beach Hotel, Flic en Flac.
This workshop, which was held in the margin of the World Travel Award Gala Ceremony for Africa and Indian Ocean, is a follow up of the International Conference on “Digitalisation and Sustainable Tourism.” It brought together the different actors from the tourism and the financial services sector to exchange views and discuss on how FinTech could be leveraged to optimise travelling experiences.
Speaking on that occasion, the Minister of Tourism, Mr Anil Gayan, highlighted that FinTech, which is emerging industry that uses technology to improve activities in finance, ranks high on the agenda of Government as it is an emerging sector with huge potential for the millennials. In this context, last year a series of measures were announced in the budget to accelerate the country’s move to an age of digitalisation and innovation in the form of Artificial Intelligence and FinTech to promote private investment and a cashless society and create new jobs for the youth.
Speaking about the advantages of FinTech, Mr Gayan stated that it is the latest technological innovation that is today driving the global economy where Finance and Technology are highly integrated in the design and delivery of financial services and products. The application of FinTech cuts across multiple business segments, including lending, investment managements and payments. The Global FinTech Sector generated revenue to the tune of USD 41.7 billion in the first half of 2018 and Global FinTech investment increased steadily from USD 19.9 billion in 2014 to USD 39.4 billion in 2017, he added.
The Tourism Minister further added that the FinTech industry in Africa has the greatest reach and potential compared to the rest of the world because of lack of access to conventional financial services, especially in the banking sector. Hence, the universal availability of and accessibility to mobile phones and internet has offered opportunities to the African people to access mobile money services, to receive their wages, settle their bills and pay for goods and services, he indicated. However, he stated, the FinTech Industry has yet to unleash its full potential in the continent adding that there is need to establish a proper regulatory framework to support the development and promotion of FinTech services in Africa.
As regards Mauritius, Mr Gayan rejoiced that the country has all the attributes to be the FinTech hub for Africa such as the required infrastructure and regulatory framework namely high bandwidth connectivity with Europe, Asia and Africa, a strong technology infrastructure and a robust legal system that combines civil and common law practices. Mauritius is, therefore, an ideal platform and has the potential to drive the rise of FinTech in the region, he pointed out. He underlined Government’s aim at establishing Mauritius as a FinTech gateway mobilising African ready FinTech solutions by encouraging new online banks, banking infrastructure technology companies, and consumer finance companies to use Mauritius as their base for FinTech innovation and regulatory best practice.
He also underlined that the FinTech technology is fast changing the tourism value chain adding that its rapid expansion has prompted tourism businesses around the world to redefine their model and adopt new technologies to accept modern payment methods. It is only destinations that rise up to the challenge of cutting-edge technologies that will gain a competitive edge in the new business environment, he highlighted. He further underlined that the modern travellers, particularly the millennials are having their travel and accommodation bookings made and paid for on line and hence the need for tourism operators to adopt the latest technologies to respond to the need of the modern travellers.
The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness on how the global electronic payment ecosystem plays a critical role in providing individual travellers with secure and efficient data-driven solutions by reducing reliance on cash. It provided a platform for sharing experiences and best practices as well as reflecting on challenges and opportunities that FinTech presents for the tourism industry.
During the panel sessions several issues were discussed to shed light on the contribution of FinTech to the new tourism model advocated in the strategic plan 2018-2010. The topics covered included: Mauritius-an Emerging Fintech Hub; an overview of the Fintech Landscape in Mauritius; and the interplay between Fintech and Tourism: the New Wave.
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