The Africa Tourism Board (ATB) announced its CEO at WTM Africa on April 11.

Alain St. Ange will be taking the helm of the organisation, which aims to bring Africa together as one destination, assist with outreach into new and exciting tourism markets, and provide a platform for tourism brands that want to communicate their African presence to global source markets.

“As a team we need to rally as many tourism boards and their ministers to look at Africa as one. To facilitate what we are doing, we’ll need to devise ways and means for us to bring Africa together. Only when we really know Africa ourselves, will we be able to work closer together. Tourism is the culture that we have, and when we appreciate our cultures and the diversity of cultures we have, we’ll realise the need to work together to make tourism sustainable.”

Kwakye Donkor, CEO of African Tourism Partners (ATP), said that for the ATB to be a success, process, protocols and public-private support are vital. “A level of consolidation is required for us to move forward,” said Donkor. “We need to get the right people involved, like tourism boards, and industries doing marketing in the marketplace.”

That’s what is needed to gain the traction required, says Donkor. “This is a great initiative, and it will add value to build the equity of brand Africa. But it needs to be based in Africa, driven by Africans, supported by Africans – as well as its [ATB’s] stakeholders, board members and the leadership of Africa.”

“The ATB will have two branches: one that recruits memberships and rallies ministers etc together. And one that will be the marketing arm of it. We have separated these, as we want tourism boards to use this forum, and we create platforms so that they can come to ATB and say ‘we want to showcase our product/service there’, and they’ll have opportunity to market there – be it the US, UK or India.”

But Donkor added that tourism doesn’t stand on its own. It needs aviation, infrastructure…all affiliated industries need to work together holistically.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but together can put the pressure on to make it happen. If we commit ourselves to push for the difference then we can do it, and do it with success.”