African destinations are ready to promote the continent to new audiences following the impact of Covid-19 on the continent.
At the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Conference for Africa in Windhoek, Namibia, this week, African member states agreed to work together to establish a new narrative for tourism across the continent.
UNWTO and its members will work closely with the AU and the private sector to promote the continent to "new global audiences through positive, people-centred storytelling and effective branding".
The member states also endorsed the Windhoek Pledge on Advocating Brand Africa, vowing to engage both public and private sector stakeholders and local communities to build a new, inspiring narrative for tourism across the continent.
"Over the coming weeks, UNWTO will work with all signatories to create a common roadmap towards establishing Brand Africa. This will include establishing common values and goals and identifying funding needs and opportunities as well as providing branding toolkits for destinations, including guidelines and recommendations and training and capacity building in market intelligence, digital marketing and data management," a statement by UNWTO revealed.
South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlalela, who attended the event, said that countries needed to understand the current perceptions about Africa’s ability and what informs such perceptions.
"As we do that we need to answer as to what we as African governments are doing to eliminate those negative perceptions about ‘being African’ urgently.
“This is Africa’s moment to reclaim its positioning globally. If Africa is to become the economic and social superpower that it is meant to be, then Brand Africa must leverage the youth mindset, creativity and innovation in whatever positioning it adopts. To position Africa, we need to show the best of who we are and position ourselves as an active and sustainable continent. We need to highlight our best features and tourism adventures, and in addition, we need to position Africa within the minds of consumers and travellers. We need to listen and see what they want," he said.
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said African destinations needed to take the lead in celebrating and promoting the continent’s vibrant culture, youthful energy and entrepreneurial spirit, and rich gastronomy.