The Director marketing of the Caribbean tourism organisation, Ms. Carol Hay is calling for a business approach to tourism in Africa as a way of growing the economies on the continent.
In 2018, the travel and tourism industry experienced a 3.9 growth, compared to the global economy of 3.2% while one in five new jobs were created by the industry over the past 5 years, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“One of the things that I think we have really strengthened in the Caribbean is treating tourism like a business, just like the same way we look at other industries in manufacturing, oil, minerals and others,” Ms. Hay told Voice of Nigeria at the recently concluded 15th Akwaaba African travel market held in Lagos.
According to Ms. Hay, a major way to treat tourism like a business and make it sustainable will be to ensure locals of tourism destinations get involved and reap the economic benefits of the industry.
“When we are looking at tourism, we have to look at it using the pillars of sustainability. And the pillars of sustainability focus first of all on the environment that your tourism product is in,” Ms. Hay said.
“So. if you have a tourism structure and members of the community are not benefiting by working or being part of the supply system or are not entitled to visiting the attractions, they won’t have the same passion,” she said.
Ms Hay was one of the dozens of exhibitors who came to showcase tourism products in Lagos as part of “Akwaaba” which means welcome in of Ghana’s local languages. The event, according to the organiser Ikechi Uko, is “where Africa sell their tourism products to the world.”
Although the Caribbean is located outside the continent, Ms Hay believes ”there is a connection between Africa and the Caribbean.”
In her words; “By coming here we have the opportunity to speak to people and stress the connectivity between our culture and heritage and let them know that even though the Caribbean is thousands of miles away, the legacy of our African heritage is still much in us.”
The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts.
Some of the countries in the Caribbean are Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana among others.