COVID 19 Tourism Task Force for Africa established

Pretoria – 21 March 2020: The African Tourism Board (ATB) was one of the first international organizations that had reacted to the ongoing corona crisis. ATB was the first organization to take a tough stand and voiced support for border closing and air interruption. ATB’s message to Africa was to stay home and allow tourism to prosper later. This message was established before the canceled ITB trade show in Berlin earlier this month.

ATB had been working hard to mobilize our rapid response system and mobilize a global team of experts.

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the African Tourism Board was also the first global organization to take on coronavirus in announcing the formation of the COVID 19 Tourism Task Force for Africa.

Recognizing Africa is no longer exempt from the rapid spread of this deadly virus. Tourism must protect itself. This is the immediate task African Tourism Board is lobbying for.

Joining the growing team of this newly established task force are known tourism celebrities operating under the leadership of Dr. Taleb Rifai, patron, who was the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for almost 8 years.

Joining also is ATB president and former Minister of Tourism for Seychelles Alain St. Ange, and Dr Peter Tarlow a renowned international expert in travel, tourism, and health. Dr. Tarlow has managed tourism safety and security projects as well as training of tourism police around the globe. Dr. Tarlow also teaches medicine at the University in Texas, USA. He was appointed by ATB as their safety and security expert at the official launch of the organization in April 2019 during WTM Cape Town. He assisted ATB destinations during the Ebola crisis, and during a kidnapping incident involving an American tourist.

Also joining the team is the entire African Tourism Board Executive committee. It includes Cuthbert Ncube, chairSimba Mandinyenya, COO, Juergen Steinmetz, founding chair and CMCO and Doris Woerfel, CEO of the South African based NGO.

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The COVID 19 Tourism Task Force for Africa is in direct contact with sitting ministers and heads of African National and Regional Tourism Boards and tourism associations. ATB’s goal is to expand the task group and have a ministerial advisory committee working alongside the group.

The task force will be able to react to this emerging crisis on a daily basis. It will be flexible enough to adjust its activities constantly without having to delay the process by a time-consuming decisionmaking process.

The task force was invited by Gloria Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to join their crisis committee.

ATB Chairman Cuthbert Ncube said: “I see our role as having the interest of our African travel and tourism industry in mind. The victim in the coronavirus situation clearly is the travel and tourism industry. We are more fragile in Africa than anyplace else in the world.
The goal of this task force will be to act efficiently and fast, giving our members and African stakeholders an important voice and help to minimize the impact of this global challenge .”

The African Tourism Board’s philosophy is to see tourism as a catalyst for unity, peace, growth, prosperity, job creation – for the people of Africa.
ATB’s vision: Where Africa becomes ONE tourism destination of choice in the world.

For more information, contact information and to join please visit

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