Africa – The Force of Change

As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.’ Nelson Mandela

The energy and enthusiasm about Africa was running high at the first US-Africa Tourism Seminar on 2/27 developed by The Corporate Council on Africa and Africa Travel Association. While Africa has its fair share of political, economic and humanitarian challenges, the continent is poised to be a major travel destination and location for investment and business exploration.

In conjunction with the ‘Greening’ of the travel industry, Experiential Tourism, a growing sector beyond ‘sun-and-sand tourism,’ is expected to grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years - $473.6 billion a year.

As Gregg Truman, vice president of marketing for South African Airways pointed out, Africa commands only 2.4% of global travel market share, with only 64 million people taking trips to Africa.

With a new breed of ‘sustainable tourists’ seeking culturally authentic travel experiences that protect the environment and integrity of the destination, VolunTourism and travel philanthropy opportunities are on the rise. Africa is rich for its natural resources, tourism and wildlife, dancing and music – among others.
Opportunities for ‘Doing Good in Africa’:

Corporations and individuals have abundant opportunities to make a difference by addressing causes in need and making a personal connection with African communities. Some suggestions include:

  • Engage in ongoing education for the public about the realities and opportunities
  • Encourage family and stakeholder visits to see communities with causes in need
  • Align with NGO/non-profits to help mitigate extreme poverty, disease, threats to wildlife and tourism, and infant mortality
  • Provide benefits and incentives for local businesses, workforce, products and services
  • Donate funds and/or volunteer in communities

A special thanks to my fellow panelists’ on Experiential Tourism, their engaging presentations and fascinating work. Sean Barlow - Afropop Worldwide, El Hadji Aziz Gueye – Senegal Tourist Office, Lelei LeLaulu - Counterpart International, Dr. Lawrence Martin - Stony Brook University, Sharr Prohaska - New York University, Kevin J. Wright - World Religious Travel Association.

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and Africa Travel Association (ATA) Host First US-Africa Tourism & Sports Seminar in New York

The seminar theme - Making Africa the World’s Next Premiere Travel Destination - will provide more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors an inside look into the vast array of business exploration and investment opportunities in the travel and tourism industries in Africa.

Africa is poised to increase its world market share in tourism and this seminar will help lay the groundwork placing Africa top-of-mind among American tourists and investors.

Currently sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 1.3% of the world market share in the travel and tourism industry. In 2007, the sector generated close to $90 billion in economic activity and is expected to exceed $185 billion within the next 7 years for the region, demonstrating positive growth and investment opportunities.

Sam Taylor, founder of Reputation Dynamics and Associate Partner of Corporate Donor Travel for Elevate Destinations, will be participating in a workshop and address the growth of Experiential Tourism in the context of alignment with economic, social and environmental responsibility trends. Experiential Tourism, encompassing eco-, nature, heritage, community and adventure tourism, is expected to grow three times faster than the tourism industry as a whole. In fact, beginning in the 1990s, this sector has grown 20-to-34% per year and could grow to 25% of the world’s travel market within six years, taking the value of the sector to $473.6 billion a year.

Event topics include sports and tourism, infrastructure development, marketing Africa, traveler perception, travel industry-related investment opportunities, airline and hotel development, as well as travel trends in Africa.

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of nearly 200 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. The organization is dedicated to bringing together potential business partners and to showcase business opportunities on the continent. For more information on CCA, seminar and agenda visit
The seminar will be held February 27-28, 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, immediately preceding The New York Times Travel Show 2008.
Statistical Reference: World Tourism Organization (WTO).