All is not lost for tourism in Africa even with the COVID-19 pandemic that has put the continent’s tourism on a standstill.
However, interventions by different entities within the continent have shone a ray of hope in this vibrant sector which is a top forex income earner a majority of African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana among others.
Through Project Hope Africa initiated by African Tourism Board (ATB), a roadmap to navigate the sector through the crisis and post COVID-19 has been drawn to salvage the sector that accounts for between 9 and 11 percent of Africa’s GDP.
Members of the African Tourism Board discuss how the organisation and its Project HOPE Initiative are actively involved in the rescue and recovery of Africa’s tourism sector.
Cuthbert Ncube is the current chairman of the African Tourism Board. He was the Regional Vice President of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Chief Executive Director of Kwela Fleet Management, South Africa and Golden Feathers Lodge in Cape Town. He has over 20 years’ experience in business leadership and business development, including his role as the regional vice president of the UNWTO. Ncube’s areas of expertise include strategic management, business development, International Relations, Cooperate Governance and customer service. He also has other business interests in the tourism industry including journalism and brand management.
Doris Wörfel is an Executive Director, Executive Council Member (EXCO), and the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of the African Tourism Board (ATB). As a Founding Member, she assisted the Executive Council to convert the organization from a US-based profit-making company into an Africa-based Not-for-Profit Company (NPC). In close cooperation with the EXCO, she created a new corporate governance structure for ATB and consulted ATB in the revision of the vision, mission and objectives of the organization.
Due to the need for a revised approach in Tourism Marketing and Development on the African Continent caused by the unprecedented spread of the Corona Virus COVID-19 – Wörfel motivated and advised ATB to establish a COVID-19 Task Force, renamed to “Project HOPE”. The Task Force mission is to assist African SMTE’s in the containment of the virus and the recovery of the tourism industry across the African Continent.
Over the last 20 years – in partnership with UNESCO, the ILO and other international Development Agencies and think tanks of tourism experts and academics, she invented, initiated and implemented tourism development programs that make use of Africa’s considerable cultural and natural resources and assets. She dedicates all her work to her passion to concentrate on Africa’s previously disadvantaged communities with ownership and access to under-marketed but highly significant tourist attractions, and to assist these communities benefitting from the domestic, regional, and international source markets.
Dr. Taleb Rifai
Born in 1949, Dr. Rifai is a Jordanian economist who was the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) based in Madrid, Spain, until December 31, 2017, having held the post since being unanimously elected in 2010. Dr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector, and academia. Prior to joining UNWTO, he was the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Mr. Rifai has also served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan – Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information, and Minister of Tourism and Antiquity.
Chief Operating Officer: ATB
Simba Mandinyenya (BSc Econ, MPOS, MBA) is a member of the ATB Executive Council and is its current Chief Operations Officer. Simba joined the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA), the then tourism arm of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2009 at the level of Director Research and Development. He became Executive Director of RETOSA from 2012 to 2016, when it transformed to a private sector driven organization. From 1998 to 2008 Mandinyenya was Executive Director, Research, Planning and Development with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. Mandinyenya with business interests in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK is a non-executive director in several organizations in Africa and the UK. He is an experienced market, and marketing researcher with keen interest in destination management, strategic planning, change management, entrepreneurship development, corporate governance, and sustainable development.