The event which will be conducted in a hybrid format is aimed at mentoring and bringing the continent’s youthful minds to interact with leaders of the tourism and technological world.
The august gathering is organized by Africa Tourism Partners in collaboration with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), BDO and hosted by the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Tourism Authority.
With the tourism sector still reeling from the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, the event has come at the right time to help highlight the opportunities that the pandemic presents to the tourism sector.
Themed, “Empowering African youth through tourism innovation, education, and investments in a changing world’’, the summit focuses on skills development and innovation methodologies for youth in leisure and business tourism as well as MICE. It also highlights the need for an ecosystem approach among tourism stakeholders to enable entrepreneurs to grow and develop. This being the 3rd year running, the Pan-African summit gathers youth, start-ups (in leisure tourism and MICE), and professionals to harness the potential of this sector by sharing insights, knowledge, experiences, and opportunities.
The Regional Director of Africa at United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Elcia Grandcourt says the coronavirus pandemic has presented the tourism sector and the youth an opportunity to use technology and innovation to develop sustainable job models to shape society. ‘’With the adverse effects of covid-19 on the tourism sector, innovation and the use of technology offers an opportune platform for disruptive projects that are changing the way people travel and its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be harnessed as models for the future. The Africa Youth in Tourism and Innovation Summit is aligned with UNWTO’s Agenda for Africa; Tourism for Inclusive Growth’’
Speakers include Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, UNWTO’s Regional Director for Africa Elcia Grandcourt, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority Akwasi Agyeman, Judy Kepher-Gona – Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda Natalia Bayona (UNWTO), Amadeus (Racquel), Velma Corcoran, Air BnB, Richard Perez (Hasso Plattner Foundation, UCT), Prof Kim Shapiro (Cornell University), Dianne Dusaidi (MasterCard Foundation), Christelle Grohmann (BDO), Regina Honu, CEO – Soronko Academy , York Zucci, Chairperson – Centre for Unconventional Entrepreneurship and Ashwin Ravichabdran (MEST Africa).
The Innovation challenge has received entries from youth innovators from eight African countries including Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia.
Shortlisted Innovation Challenge competitors will have the opportunity to be supported and mentored to compete in the UNWTO Global Innovation Challenge. Participants in the Summit and competition will benefit in many ways such as:
• Career guidance for fresh high school and university graduates interested in travel and tourism and MICE eco-system careers;
• Creating a new exclusive marketplace for African Youth and Start-Ups and SMMEs in leisure tourism, business tourism and MICE
• Gaining insights into supply-chain linkages, market access, funding, business recovery and continuity opportunities between start-ups established & big industry stakeholders across leisure and business travel as well as MICE;
• Synergies amongst public sector entities (including National Tourism Organisations, Convention Bureaux and Conference Centres), start-ups, academia, corporations, investors, accelerators.
The five (5) shortlisted competitors will participate in the finals of the Youth Innovation Summit and Challenge that will take place on the margins of the annual Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) and Awards scheduled to take place in Rwanda in mid-November.