GIS - Mar 29, 2012: The Meeting of the SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism was opened this morning at the Grand Baie International Conference Centre by the Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Mr M. Sik Yuen. Eight tourism ministers and some 100 delegates from SADC Member States are also attending the meeting.
In his speech, Minister Sik Yuen recalled that in 2011 Africa’s share of tourist arrivals amounted only to 5% and this represented only 3.4% share of receipts which were around Rs 851 billion. He also pointed out that the region of Southern Africa attracted only 2% of tourists arrivals. He underlined that in 2012 it is forecasted that one billion tourists will travel and that the SADC region has all the potential to attract more tourists and one of the objectives of this meeting is to look into this issue.
“With the advent of internet people travel differently nowadays. They browse and query and it is essential that we adapt ourselves to this trend by developing and marketing our destinations to meet the needs and demands of this generation of tourists”, said Minister Sik Yuen. He also spoke about the problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean and laid emphasis on the issue of security in hotels. He added that the SADC region must unleash the full potential of its tourism sector and underlined that in Mauritius tourism is a major pillar of the economy.
One of the objectives of the Meeting is to review the state of tourism in the SADC region and provide guidance to the SADC Secretariat and Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) on future initiatives to enhance our global market share.
The RETOSA, established in 1996, is the official marketing and promotion arm of the tourism sector of SADC. The mandate of RETOSA is to market and promote Southern Africa in close cooperation with the region’s national tourist bodies and the private sector. Its aim is to create a clear and recognizable brand identity that will enable the sub-continent to compete effectively within the global arena.