The inaugural ISTO Africa Social
Tourism Conference

Overview

Both the African Union (AU) and the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO) are marking their 60th anniversaries in 2023, and in the year that the AU is celebrating six decades, South Africa is hosting the inaugural ISTO Africa Social Tourism Conference, focused on the democratisation of intra-Africa travel and tourism. This forms part of the AU’s Agenda 2063 master plan to realise the vision of The Africa We Want. 

Leveraging this combined milestone, stakeholders intend to emerge from the conference with a cohesive social tourism agenda for Africa.

The value of domestic and regional tourism for destinations has never been more evident than in the current post-pandemic era, when local travel has been the first to recover and continues to sustain the sector towards recovery. 

In the 2021 initial recovery phase, domestic tourism spending globally increased by 31.4%, and international visitor spending by 3.8%, after declining in 2020 by 47.4% and 69.7% respectively.

Similar performance was seen on the African continent. However, job losses were among the highest recorded, at 29.3%, compared with the global average of 18.6%. With recovery driven by local travel, tourism success is increasingly measured in terms of its contribution towards development, with sustainable and responsible tourism – anchored in inclusive participation – as the principal areas of focus.

To this end, the World Economic Forum has renamed its biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report to the Travel & Tourism Development Index, highlighting the need for tourism development plans to integrate sustainability and resilience, as well as the sector’s role in social development, among other factors. This thinking is aligned to the Agenda 2063 development priorities for inclusive and sustainable development and aims to bolster the African Continental Free Trade Agreement initiatives. 

Rethinking tourism and shaping its contribution from a development perspective present an opportunity to adopt a cohesive approach to social tourism policies and programmes, with substantial benefits to women and youth. Such an approach will stimulate tourism recovery.

Women and youth will benefit through the rehabilitation of social tourism infrastructure, upskilling of young people to take advantage of job opportunities in tourism, and unlocking entrepreneurship at small and micro-business level. All this can be done leveraging the benefits of digitalisation of the industry.

The conference, hosted as a hybrid event from 30 August to 1 September 2023, will include visits to heritage tourism sites, and is open to ISTO members and all stakeholders in the tourism and related industries.

3 days

Conference programme

Tuesday

29 AUG

All day

Arrival and registration 

1pm-3.30pm

ISTO Africa meeting

4pm-5pm

Media roundtable

5pm-7pm

Welcome cocktails

Wednesday

30 AUG

8am

Arrival and registration

9am

Opening and welcome 

Beulah Mosupye, Founder and CEO, Hauweng

9.15am

Dinokeng video

9.30am

Opening plenary:
Rethinking and reimagining tourism for Africa
Moderator: Beulah Mosupye

AUDA/NEPAD, Department of Tourism, ISTO, A Omotola and Prof Ciraj Rassool

10.15am

Keynote address:
Minister of Tourism

Official opening and closing remarks:
ISTO Africa

11.30am

Panel discussions: Social tourism schemes, youth development and solidarity

1.45pm

Panel discussions: Investing in social tourism

3.30pm-4.30pm

Plenary roundtable reflections

6.30pm

Welcome dinner

Thursday

31 AUG

8am

Arrival and registration

9am

Opening and welcome: ISTO Africa

9.20am

Red agenda for tourism sustainability roundtable

Kate Rivett-Carnac, Fedusa, Academica, Fairtrade, People and Parks, and ILO

10.15am

Panel discussions: Access and fair business

2pm

Legacy project site visits

5pm

Youth empowerment showcase

Friday

1 SEPT

9am

Opening and welcome

9.15am

Closing plenary and declaration: The Africa We Want

10am

Dinokeng social tourism for Africa declaration

Saturday – Sunday

2-3 SEPT

Leisure tours and departures

Conference fees

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION
VIRTUAL
ATTENDEES
ISTO MEMBERS
NON-ISTO MEMBERS

Accommodation recommendation: Kwalata

REGISTRATION FORM

ISTO member

7 + 11 =

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