Spanish version available here.
FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Show, is renewing its commitment to sustainable development in Africa through its tourism industry, by means of the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, INVESTOUR, which will be staging its seventh edition on 21 January 2016 within the context of the trade show organised by IFEMA, running from 20 to 24 January next year. The Forum is organised jointly by FITUR, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Casa África.
INVESTOUR is once again being arranged with the aim of contributing to the sustainable development of the African continent, in accordance with the reality reflected at the last edition held in January, at which the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Mr José Manuel Soria, asserted that “Africa is not the future, but the present,” while highlighting the relationship between Africa and Spain and inviting countries from the continent to make use of the Spanish tourism sector's know-how. The purposes of the Forum include assisting participants in locating investment and business opportunities for entrepreneurs from other countries.
The last staging of INVESTOUR achieved positive results, bringing together 306 participants from 42 countries, including 17 ministers from Africa and the Middle East, 40 Spanish firms and organisations and 10 international (non-African) bodies, along with 150 African projects (70 of Spanish origin).
Next year, in 2016, INVESTOUR will be repeating the same structure comprising round tables to exchange know-how and experience along with B2B business meetings, in other words an intense agenda of personalised and pre-scheduled appointments bringing together business people from the African tourism sector and entrepreneurs and potential partners from Spain and around the world with an interest in investing in the continent.
A highly beneficial format for the participants, in that, as stated last time by the Executive President of IFEMA, Mr Luís Eduardo Cortés, it serves “to bring together at the same venue a number of the key players in African tourism policy, along with their Spanish and international interlocutors”. For the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, “Africa faces the challenge of successfully implementing programmes and policies that will showcase one of the continent's key singularities, namely hospitality”. For his part the Director-General of Casa África, Mr Luís Padrón, emphasised the outstanding results achieved by INVESTOUR in January 2015, “surpassing our most optimistic forecasts, and corresponding to the fact that although African tourism represents just 5% of the global market, with 56 million tourists, international tourism revenue (+3%) increased by 1 billion US dollars, to a figure of 36 billion".
As for the effectiveness of INVESTOUR and the use made of it by participants, examples would include the perspectives offered in January 2015 by such figures as the Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, Mr Alain St. Ange, indicating the need for forums like INVESTOUR that allow different companies to view one another as partners rather than competitors, for the benefit of Africa, as well as the Executive Director of the Rwandan company Amahono Tours, Mr Greg Bakunzi, who was attending for the fifth consecutive year a Forum that “allows you to open the door to international markets”.
INVESTOUR 2016 will serve to address issues such as the numerous opportunities offered by Africa in the field of tourism; how to invest in the continent; finance opportunities, connectivity and other topics.
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