Airbnb logo. Photo: File.

CAPE TOWN - Tourism is a powerful mechanism that can be able to accelerate economic growth and create jobs, link initiatives with opportunities of partnership, collaborations and investments.

This is according to Sihle Tshabalala, co-founder and chief executive of Quirky 30 NPC, a non-profit organisation that provides a free training to disadvantaged youth in coding, design, cloud and entrepreneurship skills that are most in demand in the marketplace.

Speaking at the Africa travel summit, held in Langa township in Cape Town on Wednesday and organised by global home sharing platform, Airbnb, Tshabalala stated that tourism should be a linkage between development and opportunity and of which in many instances that isn’t happening.

Tshabalala said: "What happens is that if people come to Langa, what they are shown in Langa is a pity. They are taken to see all the bad that is happening in this township rather than initiatives that are driven by community people. And for me, that poses a big question whether or not that now do we continue to perpetuate poverty or we create a difference by promoting good."

“Let's be honest here, in most cases we sell poverty rather than hope and of which for me I have always believed that tourism, as a powerful mechanism that can be able to accelerate economic growth and create jobs and also link initiatives with opportunities of partnership and collaborations and also investments, we should be focusing on that.” 

The summit brought together distinguished and high-profile delegates, panellists and speakers from across Africa who shared expertise and ideas on what tourism can do to empower more people and discussed how technology can be used to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth through tourism in underserved communities in Africa.

"Tourism needs to create more opportunities for building bridges, that’s what I would love to see, maybe not in this day and age but in the future. I always believed and hoped for something better, every day that now we would be able to change and design systems that are inclusive, that create opportunities," said Tshabalala. 

He argued that it was important to design systems that are inclusive but also with that, create opportunities and platforms that are accessible.

“But now, how will these people be able to access these opportunities if they are not connected, because, for me when I was starting out trying to teach myself how to code, I used to travel from Langa to Cape Town city library just to access the internet and download material off," he said.

- African News Agency (ANA)