SADC Secretariat establishes SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance

A tourist takes a picture of an elephant at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe which is part of the SADC region. Picture: Unsplash

A tourist takes a picture of an elephant at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe which is part of the SADC region. Picture: Unsplash

Published Mar 11, 2024


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, Southern Africa, has made significant strides in advancing its SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030.

The tourism programme, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ (the German development agency), serves as a comprehensive roadmap for guiding and co-ordinating the development of a sustainable tourism industry in the Southern African region and focuses on facilitating the removal of barriers to tourism development and growth.

Moreri Mabote, senior programme officer of tourism at the SADC Secretariat said the SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030 provides a powerful framework for achieving regional tourism success.

“Its strategic goals, including enhanced visitor movement, destination reputation, TFCA (Transfrontier Conservation Area) development, exceptional experiences, and powerful partnerships, lay a strong foundation.

“The progress we’re seeing is a testament to the programme’s strength and the commitment of all stakeholders,” said Mabote.

According to the secretariat a notable step forward has been the establishment of the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, which serves as a critical platform for cultivating responsible and sustainable tourism growth across Southern Africa.

“As a non-profit, membership-based body bringing together private and public sector stakeholders, the alliance strives to unite key industry players to create a collective impact.

“With tourism identified as an economic pillar for the SADC region, the alliance facilitates crucial initiatives around investment, marketing, skills development, route expansion and more,” said the secretariat.

The SADC Secretariat said that central to the alliance’s mission is mobilising collaboration among tourism authorities, hospitality associations, conservation groups and other partners across the region.

“Through shared knowledge and co-ordinated strategies, the aim is to boost visitor numbers, preserve natural and cultural heritage, create jobs, and drive socio-economic advances,” said the secretariat.

Natalia Rosa, project lead, SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, said the creation of the alliance has been a watershed moment.

“It provides a structured link between the private sector and the SADC Secretariat, enabling joint initiatives with tangible impact. This exemplifies the power of effective collaboration in regional tourism development,” she said.

The secretariat also revealed that Boundless Southern Africa continues its “vital work” promoting SADC’s TFCAs.

“The organisation’s multifaceted efforts have been diverse and impactful, encompassing the development of tourism brochures and branding for various TFCAs, the production of promotional videos, the execution of online training platforms, press trips, and familiarisation trips for tour operators,” said the SADC Secretariat.

Boundless Southern Africa’s has just concluded the development of a detailed tourism map for the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), which itself has executed several initiatives in the past year to raise its visibility, including hosting press and trade familiarisation trips such as the ‘ASA goes KAZA’ trip (ASA is a leading German tourism private sector association), developing a new tourism destination brand and marketing strategy, and spearheading the Great KAZA Birding Route initiative.

“Tourism remains a pivotal economic sector for the SADC region and these initiatives represent key milestones in a journey towards a more integrated, sustainable, and resilient tourism sector,” said the SADC Secretariat.