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SADC Secretariat to support RETOSA on tourism destination marketing strategy

SADC Secretariat to support RETOSA on tourism destination marketing strategy

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana has agreed to fully support and actively assist the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) to establish partnerships and secure resources from international cooperating partners towards a tourism destination marketing strategy.

Executives from RETOSA held a meeting with SADC Secretariat officials in Gaborore late in October  to deliberate issues that would be later discussed by ministers for tourism from Southern African region this month.

The agreement is aimed at moving the SADC region’s share of tourism from its current two percent of global tourist arrivals and receipts to five percent within the next decade.

Additionally, RETOSA secured support for the various mechanisms to be adopted in seeking approval from the SADC ministers for the implementation of Phase II of the Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA).

Chief Executive Officer of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) and newly elected chairperson of RETOSA Lily Rakorong said the Organization’s new priority is to secure smart partnerships with the region’s private sector players towards a focused destination marketing strategy for the region.

“The outcomes of this meeting with the SADC Secretariat will inform RETOSA’s contribution towards the preparations for the upcoming combined SADC tourism, environment and natural resources ministers meeting which is to be held in Johannesburg on 23 and 24 November this year”, she said.

“The SADC governments now have the important task of activating the Tourism Coordinating Unit (TCU) at the Community’s Secretariat which is a key requirement for the completion of the RETOSA transformation,” she added.

Since RETOSA, as a subsidiary of the SADC Secretariat, reports to the new directorate of food, agriculture and natural resources, it was important that RETOSA also receives a briefing on the activation of the Tourism Coordinating Unit (TCU), she said.

RETOSA expects the TCU to assist in addressing the bottlenecks and challenges in the tourism policies that hinder investment in tourism and movement of the businessperson.

Kenneth Racombo, acting CEO at RETOSA said the main objectives of the meeting between the Organization and SADC Secretariat targeted transformation process at REOTSA to initiate the formalization of the partnership and cooperation between SADC and RETOSA, as required by the SADC subsidiarity guidelines.

New priorities were discussed following the recent corporate restructuring of RETOSA which resulted in a new value proposition for its key stakeholders, and a new vision which will be achieved through focused destination marketing and strategic investment.

This new vision is firmly founded on strong partnerships with the private sector operating in the region – a steep departure and a serious shift in paradigm from past practice which had seen more preoccupation with governments or public sector.

The Organization is also pushing for Intra-regional tourism as essential to a thriving tourism economy in the region

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