By Joyce Mukucha and Anyway Yotamu
To create opportunities for youth development in achieving the Agenda 2063, share lessons and exchange ideas on how young people can invest in the tourism sector in Africa, the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation is set to host the third edition of the African Youth in Tourism Annual Conference.
The conference is preordained to provide a platform to the youth for expression and execution of their aptitudes and effective participation in the tourism industry as well as stimulating their contribution in the sector.
The conference which will be running under the theme, “ Changing Africa’s Future by accelerating Investment Capacity In Youth for Sustainable Tourism Development “will be held from 10 to 12 October 2019 at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Grounds in Bulawayo.
Speaking during a press conference held in Harare on the 3rd of October 2019, the Acting Minister of Environment , Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu said the theme brings focus on the need to scale up investment by the youths in the tourism sector.
“More efforts are still needed to build the investment capacity of youths in the sector. The participation by foreign delegates will also provide a continental exposure to the youths for the expression and fulfilment of their talents, aspirations, career opportunities and effective participation in the industry. So far, 22 African countries have confirmed participation.
“The conference will foster the industry’s commitment to supporting youths in tourism and availing opportunities for youths empowerment in the tourism value chain. I also want to stress that the promotion of the participation of youths in the tourism sector is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular Goal Number 8, which relates to the promotion of decent work and economic growth. It is also in sync with the policies enunciated by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, as well as the youth in the tourism sector promulgated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO),” said Minister Ndlovu.
He emphasised that the conference will be put to use as a tourism vehicle for entrepreneurship and employment creation to help in livelihoods promotion and poverty alleviation in Africa.
“I am therefore inviting young people from Zimbabwe and across Africa who are intrested in the business of Tourism to attend this conference. This is also an opportunity for the private sector to attend and provide mentorship to the youths who are the future leaders to the sector.”
Tourism companies, suppliers, tertiary institutions and Small to Medium Enterprises will be extended an opportunity to display their products and services. As a run up to the conference, the Zimbabwe Youths in Tourism will also hold the National Tourism Delegates competition comprising of 29 local tertiary institutions who will use the platform to contribute to the tourism policy discourse.
The conference will go a long way in marketing Zimbabwe as a preferred tourist destination considering that delegates will have an opportunity to visit tourist attractions in Bulawayo. This also will ensure improved awareness of Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions to both local and foreign delegates making them play a critical role of marketing the nation in order to improve awareness of Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions.