Drew Barrett, a Chicago based African American tourism expert and consultant, thinks the newly founded African Tourism Board(ATB) is very important and potentially valuable to the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa.
ATB will celebrate its official launch on April 11 during the World Travel Market in Cape Town and has moved to a world of attention. ( www.
The nations of Sub-Saharan Africa are very hungry for and in need of growth of their inbound international tourism business. Most, however, have a steep learning curve, over which they must overcome to achieve any measurable incremental results. Most are steeped in best practices of a bygone error of global tourism marketing if they are doing anything at all. Most are not.
Nations like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa have significant global brand equity for leisure tourism. Others like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and again South Africa; are a compelling destination for business tourism. Yet on the extreme opposite end of the attractiveness spectrum others, due to conflict and a total lack of internal security are not in the running.
All nations of Sub-Saharan Africa with any viable tourism product are seeking to up their game, but have to reconcile a penchant, if not add to investing, and in many cases, mis-investing in energy, data +telecommunicationss, and transportation infrastructure to achieve modern global standards. They are missing there real opportunity.
The most readily available economic growth engine for all nations of Sub-Saharan Africa is their adventure, art, community, cultural, ecological (flora + fauna) and handicraft tourism products; in which they should invest in both development and marketing. The immense profit potential of such well planned and implemented investments, will return profits; which will pay for everything else.
I have two Sub-Saharan African nations, Kenya and South Africa, digress from World Class Tourism Marketers, not having a clue as to what to do; because they forsake a focus on their indigenous roots, attempting to promote being global business meeting and conference destinations; a playing field on which they cannot compete, for so many reasons.
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I have just last week, submitted a comprehensive, preliminary strategic tactical concept proposal to a Northwestern Sub Saharan nation. I had developed similar proposals for three other nations. In each case, I have been working with someone who has strong connections to government decision makers; but not with any preconceived disposition toward action. In the most recent case, my contact is a division of the Ministry of Tourism.
Nigeria, a few years ago, invested in the development of a Culture and Music festival which it could market globally. The problem with some post colonial nations is, they are addicted to seeking the help of postcolonial consultant intermediaries of European and North American multinationals, for expertise. The problem is those consultants do not have the expertise necessary to enable the success of such an undertaking.
The consensus is to invest in building grand hotels, great roads, and transportation; and tourists will come. Wrong, they just end up with choking foreign debt and no tourist.
Again, the African Tourism Board, can be the way forward for the Nations of Sub Saharan Africa to be able to monetize their most readily available natural resource, as previously stated.
African Tourism Board brings to those nations both internal and external subject matter experts, professional practitioners, industry resources and massive implementation capabilities; in a unified platform which can teach the leadership of the nations of Sub Saharan Africa how to successfully market their destinations and tourism assets, to the billions of ready, willing and able international tourist.