RETOSA gears up activities ahead and after the Africa Travel Association Congress in Kigali

MORE RETOSA ACTIVITIES SET TO BENEFIT MEMBERS

(Posted 29th October 2016)

The Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) is spearheading three Conferences before the end of 2016; 1st Annual Southern Africa Sustainable Tourism Conference, 3rd Annual Southern Africa Women in Tourism Conference and 2nd Annual Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Conference, with Sustainable Tourism being the umbrella project under which Women in Tourism and Youth in Tourism reside.
The main objectives of these Conferences are the same; to facilitate and promote Sustainable Tourism development across Southern Africa and specifically to contribute to poverty alleviation through tourism. It is key to bridge gaps in Tourism development within RETOSA Member States, while also emphasizing the need to enhance Tourism within the identified segments being targeted.

RETOSA will launch and host the 1st Inaugural Annual Sustainable Tourism Development Forum Conference from the 16th to 18th November, 2016 in Johannesburg South Africa, following the establishment of the Southern Africa Sustainable Tourism Development Forum which is headed by an Executive Committee elected every two years by Regional Sustainable Tourism Development stakeholders.

The first of its kind, the Sustainable Tourism Conference is aimed at forging a link between sustainable and social development targets among Member States and garner support and awareness for sustainability issues in Southern Africa. The Conference will provide a platform for participants from RETOSA Member States and the global sustainable tourism community to meet, network and dialogue on all relevant issues impacting on the sustainability of the Southern Africa tourism sector.

In addition to the above, the delegates will be engaged in conducting the necessary gap analysis in order to gain greater insights into the main opportunities and benefits of sustainable tourism development as well as barriers that are preventing Member States and private sector stakeholders from implementing a holistic Sustainable Tourism agenda.

The 3rd Annual Women in Tourism Conference, 28th to 30th November, 2016 – Johannesburg, South Africa

Following the Sustainable Tourism Conference is the 3rd Annual Women in Tourism Conference scheduled to take place from the 28th to 30th November, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It has been noted that generally in RETOSA Member States, it is the women who are economically disadvantaged. The Conference will therefore focus on how tourism could be used as a pivotal avenue to empower women from both the urban and rural areas through job creation, entrepreneurship and business development, given its significant potential for socio-economic development.

RETOSA subscribes to the principle and the need to include women from rural communities in mainstream tourism development, as the majority of tourism resources in Southern Africa are natural and cultural, and these are found in the communal and rural areas. RETOSA believes that if tourism is to effectively contribute to poverty alleviation and wealth creation, it is important that targeted interventionist measures are applied with women in mind, relating this to conservation, sustainable tourism and the participation of local communities.

The 2nd Annual Youth in Tourism Conference 2016

RETOSA hopes to contribute the alleviation of the social tensions associated with the youth through its 2nd Annual Southern Africa Youth in Tourism Conference (SAYIT), which will take place from the 7th to 9th December, 2016. The main objective of this Conference will be to help address the challenges of increasing productive capacity and promoting employment, decent work and entrepreneurship for youth through tourism in Southern Africa.

Young people continue to be the hardest hit by the jobs crisis in Southern Africa. In both developed and developing countries, youth unemployment and underemployment rates have reached alarming levels.

Various studies and analyses indicate that there will be little improvement in their near-term employment prospects. There is therefore a growing need for RETOSA to enhance its efforts to support initiatives being leveraged by Member States and the SADC region as a whole to address various challenges facing youth, in particular, the shortage of job opportunities in the tourism sector.

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