29/01/2015

Africa's future is already here

Casa África's Director General, Luis Padrón, along with African ministers attending Investour

Casa África's Director General, Luis Padrón, along with African ministers attending Investour

The Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy andTourism, José Manuel Soria, this morning inaugurated the Forum for Tourism Investments and Business in Africa, Investour 2015, in the North Convention Centre of IFEMA and as part of Fitur. Soria was blunt in explaining that the future of Africa is always talked about, "but now the future is already here." “Africa was presented to the world as a vast continent of opportunities, first for Africans but also for the rest of the world," he said. Investour, the initiative organised by Casa África, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Fitur and sponsored by Binter Canarias, today in Madrid brought together a score of African Ministers of Tourism and around 400 attendees from 48 African countries. During Investour the signing of an agreement took place between Casa África and the WTO to publish an annual report on the tourism development of African countries.

Soria claimed this morning that the Spanish Government seeks to provide the Spanish experience acquired over the last 60 years in developing the tourism sector to the African continent through initiatives such as this. For the Spanish minister, African destinations can learn from the diversified commitment to tourism that there is in Spain. "We can provide our experience in all these sectors," said Soria, who also emphasised that the link between Spain and African countries is fraternal and sincere and cited as an example that today he will be travelling with King Philip VI to Ethiopia to attend the summit for heads of state of the African Union.

It is precisely new technologies and their incorporation into the development of tourism that is one of the challenges facing the African continent, in the opinion of the WTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai. Rifai, who accompanied Soria to the opening of Investour and signed the agreement with Casa África on behalf of the WTO, stated that tourism is one of the most important development tools that the African continent has. According to him, Africa faces four major challenges in the tourism industry: finding financial institutions and formulas, improving connectivity, improving visa policies and the aforementioned use of new technologies, in an  industry and where the most modern and competitive destinations make contact with travellers through their use.

Luis Padrón, Casa África's director general, assured Spanish businessmen eager to explore African destinations that there is practically no risk for foreign investment, in most countries on the neighbouring continent. Padrón encouraged them in internationalization informing them that Spain already carries out more exports to Africa than to Latin America and that there are 1,500 Spanish companies settled in Africa, with 40% concentrated in Morocco. Casa África s Director General considered it positive that African destinations have defined and powerful strategies to attract tourists and inclusive policies that favour the population and development of the countries that opt for tourism as an option for growth. At present, there are 1,087 million tourist arrivals per year in the world. Of these, only 56 million (5%) are to the African continent, which receives 3% of the total revenue generated by tourism on the planet. However, this is a sector that has been growing continuously for years, like African economies, their middle classes and the opportunities that are offered for foreign investment.

In the afternoon, Investour is devoted to B2B meetings, which bring together businessmen from around the world interested in participating in tourism projects presented at the forum with the African businessmen who stand by them.

 

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