The youth dare to take responsibility of the future of tourism through innovation

Johannesburg, Monday 13 June 2022

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The deadline for the 4th Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge has been extended to 20 June 2022 due to popular request by young innovators who would like to submit their projects. As a key component of the African Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit, the Challenge is set to unleash innovative projects and initiatives that aims to transform the tourism ecosystem in Africa. Hosted by the Namibia Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) in collaboration with UNWTO and BDO South Africa Tourism Partners, the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge will take place in Windhoek, Namibia from 27 to 29 July 2022.

SABC Channel Africa reported that the African Union has estimated that Africa has lost nearly US$55 billion in tourism revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has impacted negatively on youth employability. Considering this, the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge, aims to support the youth across the continent to take responsibility of tourism revival through the practical implementation of innovative ideas and projects. It is anticipated that this will result in the introduction to business opportunities for youth, small enterprises, startups and all stakeholder for the revival of Africa Tourism sector. Current entries for Innovation Challenge and Summit registration reflects most young people across Africa are excited to be part of this 4th edition of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge and Summit.

Evidenced by the quality of Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge entries received so far, it is clear that African youth have begun to think out of the box and are running innovative projects that will transform the landscape of tourism in Africa, if well implemented. Mutombo Ihaama, one of the innovation competitors from the DRC said he developed an interest when he saw the competition online and, was quick to apply. “Tourism is a very important factor for the development of tourism, which is why I created my tour operator agency to enhance, promote and awaken the national heritage. We the Congolese youth are filled with innovation and projects, unfortunately we did not have an opportunity to make ourselves heard which is why I entered the youth innovation challenge”. Ihaama stressed.

Goodness Mashala, another competitor from South Africa expressed his excitement about the Youth Summit and involvement in the Challenge. “Fear has for many years taken away from a lot of young people. I have decided to overcome my fears by taking a step towards achieving my dream, the dream of simplifying access to tourism across the continent and to the world at large through innovation’. Says Mashala.

Selected top 5 candidates will be required to present 5 minutes demo to the judges for selection of the top 3 at the Summit. The winner of the Africa Tourism Innovation Challenge will receive a seed grant of US$1000.00 plus non-cash mentorship and marketing support to the value of US$5 000 whilst 1st & 2nd runners-up receive US$500 each plus mentorship, marketing support and expose to many other opportunities to value of US$5000 among several benefits.

Some of the International speakers of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge 2022 include Elcia Grandcourt, UNWTO, Director for Africa, Themba Khumalo of Acting CEO, South Africa Tourism, Hando Sinisalu, Founder of Best Marketing & Marketing Parrot based in Estonia, Linda Pereira, Managing Director of CPL Events from Portugal, Iwona Fluda Founder of Creative Switzerland and Dan Dsouza, Intrapreneurship Programme Manager at Lmarks, UK and Iddy John of Safari Wallet, Tanzania.

At least over 250 physical and over 1,000 virtual delegates are expected to attend the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge. Participants include tourism youth in tourism, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small enterprises to reconnect, engage, learn and do business from 26 to 29 July 2022. Through the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the Summit further aims to restore confidence and reactivate the tourism sector to rebuild a more resilient tourism economy in the future.