Last week’s Africa Tourism Leadership Forum 2023 (ATLF) – organised by Africa Tourism Partners and Botswana Tourism Organisation and held in Gaborone, Botswana – focused on integrating the cultural and creative industries into the continent’s collective tourism offering.
“Most activities that fall in the realm of culture and creativity are talents that individuals are naturally endowed with. This represents a nation’s intangible heritage,” said Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Philda Nani Kereng during her opening address at the ATLF 2023 on Wednesday (October 4).
“Viewed in this manner, cultural and creative industries predispose countries for success in developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” she said, adding that although SMEs were relatively small, what they lacked in size was compensated by their important role in the economy.
“They outnumber large firms, employ vast numbers of people, and are intrinsically entrepreneurial in character, thereby helping to shape innovation,” said Kereng.
She pointed out that SMEs also had a considerably large potential for integrating women and the youth in the creation of tourism value chains, particularly in the creative and cultural spaces.
“I am delighted that amongst us today we have representatives of community-based organisations throughout the country. These are community-led enterprises playing a pivotal role in growing tourism enterprises and associated value chains in the country.”
Kereng noted that local communities continued to demonstrate a leading role in promoting sustainable tourism by integrating nature and cultural practices. Through this, much-needed jobs, particularly for the youth, were generated at the local levels.
“There is an opportunity to incorporate innovative technological solutions to support industries and to embrace new ones such as digital tourism. Incorporating technology and innovative solutions will also facilitate and support the upscaling of the industry to support existing supply chains and develop new ones,” the Minister said.
CEO of Africa Tourism Partners, Kwakye Donkor, said the global Cultural and Creatives Industry (CCI) was worth $2.5 billion and represented 22 million jobs.
“This sector is expected to create a further 33.8 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa over the next year,” said Donkor.
He said the value of developing the CC industries would be immense for the tourism and other key economic growth sectors – including jewellery, textiles, film, fashion and transport.