Reinforcing its status as one of the most attractive hospitality destinations in the region, Mauritius is poised to host a tourism conference targeted at the Southern African youth, in the coming month.
The inaugural edition of the Southern African Youth in Tourism Conference, which was previously set to be hosted in December 2013 in Malawi, is slated to be held from 25– 26 September in Mauritius.
Organised by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), the conference is open to youth from the 15 RETOSA membership countries, including Mauritius.
The pioneering event is being hosted under the theme “Promoting Sustainable Youth Development through Tourism.”
It may be noted that Africa receives 3 percent of the tourism receipts in the world, and it also gets 5 percent of arrivals. However, of these, Southern Africa only receives 2 percent of both, yet the region has, if put together, arguably the best tourism resource base in the world.
In this respect, RETOSA believes it is strategic for the youth to become a driving force in tourism development at the national and regional level so that the region grows its share of the global tourism cake.
The youth constitute emerging leaders of their communities and as part of implementing its mandate RETOSA is initiating targeted measures to facilitate sustainable youth development by creating a tourism platform for the young people in Southern Africa.
Through such a platform RETOSA hopes to facilitate employment creation and poverty alleviation through tourism.
The strategic objectives of this conference are to facilitate the mainstreaming of tourism into the education system across the region, involve youth in the development of tourism in the region, promote regional integration and a Southern Africa as a single vision among the youth; and finally, use tourism as a vehicle for employment creation and in the process contributing to poverty alleviation in RETOSA Member States.
RETOSA believes that real sustainability and competitiveness of tourism development in Southern Africa can be only achieved by involving the youth in all aspects of the industry.
The conference is open to youth entrepreneurs who are below 30 years of age, members of youth tourism councils, youth tourism students at universities and colleges, tourism educators and tourism stakeholders in the public and private sector who are involved in, and interested in sustainable youth development through tourism.
Meanwhile, it may be noted that, following right on the heels of the youth tourism conference, the World Tourism Day (WTD) will be celebrated on 27 September 2014 under the theme of Tourism & Community Development.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) observes that the very nature of tourism as a people-based economic activity makes it a natural ally in fostering inclusive development and social cohesion.
Accordingly, WTD 2014 will focus on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities, while highlighting the critical role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable development.
RETOSA is the tourism implementing agency for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Its primary objective is to facilitate and promote tourism growth and development in Southern Africa.
RETOSA’s member states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Organised by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), the conference is open to youth from the 15 RETOSA membership countries, including Mauritius. (Image: UNWTO)
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