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As Steve Ayorinde turns 50, stakeholders look to reboot tourism in Africa

A rich array of stakeholders in African tourism and creative industry will on Thursday, July 9 meet online to deliberate on how best to revive tourism on the continent and how creative and entertainment contents can serve as catalysts for the needed revival after four months of covid-19 pandemic. 

The new coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism economy in Africa, but finding immediate recovery and sustenance will be the task of the stakeholders assembled across Africa in a Zoom Webinar designed in Honour of Steve Ayorinde, the former Commissioner for Tourism Arts & Culture in Lagos State (SW Nigeria’s sprawling commercial capital). 

A journalist, author and culture aficionado, Ayorinde clocks 50 on the day of the conference, Thursday July 9, 2020. Ayorinde is a renowned Nigerian journalist, media consultant, author and publisher who has devoted close to three decades to promoting the arts, creative enterprise and tourism across the continent.

According to a statement issued on Monday by PRM Africa, the Lead Organiser, the virtual conference is designed as a Pan-African event tagged “Close the Gap Conference” with the theme: “Post-COVID-19: For African Tourism to Revive, Reboot & Refocus.”

The Zoom webinar with Zoom ID: 93542315938 is hosted in collaboration with The Culture Newspaper (TCN) and will run between 12noon and 2pm (WAT). 

Participation is FREE but registration is required on this link: https://bit.ly/CTGwebinar

South African brand and communication expert, Matlou Tsotetsi will moderate the two-hour conference; media personality and creative industry executive, Olisa Adibua, will co-moderate. 

Goodwill messages are expected from the Head of Culture, Social Affairs Commission, African Union Commission, (AUC), Angela Martins; and Nigerian Minister of Information, Culture, Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Leading the pack of a well-curated Pan-African panel to drive a sustainable path that will encourage intra-African tourism in-flow in the expected ‘new normal’ are President, Ecoplannet Sarl, Morocco who is also the President of Tourism Leadership Forum, Mr. James MacGregor; Regional Head-West Africa, South African Tourism, Mr. Thekiso Rakolojane; Founder, Villa Sands Hotel Group, Ilha de, Mozambique, Ms. Gisela Antman; Head of International Jury Department, Cairo International Film Festival, Egypt, Ms. Nayera Soliman; and President, West Africa Tourism Organisation (WATO) Ms. Ola Wright. 

Other panelists include the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman; Regional Marketing Manager, Kenya Tourism Board, Ms. Fiona Ngesa; Head Tourism, Brand Malawi Campaign, Ms. Janet Kathewera; A&R Manager, Africa for Sony ATV Music Publishing, South Africa, Munya Chanetsa; Founder, Akwaaba African Travel Market, Amb. Ikechi Uko; Chief Executive Officer, W-hospitality Group, Nigeria and Ms. Belinda Nwosu.

As part of the conference, two case studies will be examined as relevant examples of pan-African creative showpiece that tick the tourism and creative content boxes. 

For this, insights will be shared by the President and Executive Producer, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) Mr. Mike Dada; and President, Africa Movie Academy Awards, (AMAA) Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe. 

“The need to close the gap among African countries and all the regions of the continent for better inter-African flow of tourists as well as the need to close the gap between tourism promoters and creative industry producers so that creative content can serve as catalysts for driving tourism within the Continent post-Covid19 when international inflow of tourists may take a while to pick up.” 

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