A Survey of African Youths in Tourism Technology

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By Blossom Charity Ukoha

“When people Google Africa, they generally feel the continent is all about war, poverty, and lots of other such bad publicity. But my videos have created good publicity, and when people watch them, they say it’s nice. It has been an awesome change.” – Tayo Aina

According to UNWTO forecasts, the World youth tourism industry is estimated to be approximately 190 million international travellers per year. 2020 was about 300 million young people in a year, accounting for 320 billion dollars in market value.

African youths are gaining more ground in global tourism, Innovation, technology, and business hub.

Tourism Innovation for the youth is a very important market segment and a resource for change in Africa’s economy.

According to the director, of the Africa Department, UNWTO, Ms Elcia Grandcourt, who gave a speech on leveraging the power of innovation and youth entrepreneurship as the key to building a sustainable tourism ecosystem in Africa, stated, “Everyone is more energized and revamped to kick-start tourism in their different countries on the African Continent as young people consist the future of the tourism sector. Upscaling, training, and capacity building are paramount for the African youth in the tourism sector. Innovation, tech, and digitalization are all integral parts of the tourism sector, Africa and youth entrepreneurship would be controlled by people who are ready.”

Tourism Innovation did not end in nurturing the African youth but also enables start-ups, small enterprises, and accelerator initiatives to pursue opportunities across the global tourism ecosystem to become industry change-makers and future industry leaders. Its other purposes are:

• It trains, inspires, and equips youths across Africa to impact their world, and proffer lasting innovative solutions for the growing African tourism sector;

• It offers career development opportunities for youth interested in pursuing careers in travel, tourism, tourism academia, hospitality, aviation, conservation, and related industries and sub-sectors.

• It has helped to drive a transformative change in African societies and nations at large through critical and design thinking.

• It has empowered youth at all levels, start-ups, and small enterprises by offering market access, business development, value partnership, mentorship, and funding solutions.

• It presents great opportunities for youth to showcase their tourism related-businesses and bankable projects to the global marketplace in order to find the required support.

The tourism innovation opens up opportunities within African continents with the aim of providing a transformative platform for African Youth, start-ups, entrepreneurs, students, and small enterprises for income generation and career development.
Below are some African youths in Tourism Innovation

Eugene Allotey

Eugene Allotey is an African youth who has over 7 years of experience in the IT field. Spent most of his career working at Creative Bibini managing IT-related project portfolios as well as managing large, complex multi-use development projects. He began his career as a Project Manager and is now the Chief Operations Officer for the company.

As Creative Bibini’s Co-Founder, COO, and Senior Project Manager, Eugene is responsible for defining and implementing a state-of-the-art information technology architecture, developing and implementing governance and project management processes while ensuring the successful deployment of services that meet Creative Bibini’s mission and client requirements. As a Senior Project Manager at Creative Bibini, Eugene approaches all projects with a strong strategic focus and an emphasis on team building while always maintaining a clear path toward achieving project goals. He is a true believer in building solutions that follow values and agile practices, mentoring and motivating teams to improve processes, eliminating team impediments, and facilitating meetings and decision-making processes.

Eugene is a Co-Founder and Development partner at FOCAS, a real-time customer service feedback software that won the Africa Youth in Innovation Challenge Award in 2021.

Eugene holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing Strategy from the University of Ghana Business School. He is also a Member of the Project Management Institute (Global and Ghana Chapter) as well as a certified Digital Marketer from Google.

Nnenna Fakoya-Smith
Popularly known as Ajala Nene, Nnenna Fakoya-Smith is a Tourism Promoter and Visibility Strategist.

She is the Founder of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd, a tourism company that promotes tourist destinations in Africa and sustainability for Tourism businesses and organizations through visibility strategies.

As a Visibility Strategist, she helps small business owners build a visible and sustainable brand through her signature program called the Audience Builder Process™.

Nnenna is recognized as the Top 30 Tourism and Hospitality Influencers in Nigeria (2020) and Africa (2021). In 2022, she was recognized as the Top 30 Women in Tourism Nigeria.

Nnenna has been recognized as one of the “Young Tourism Personalities of the Year” by the Nigeria Tourism Awards for hosting the first-ever Tourism Virtual Summit. She was nominated for the “Rising Star of the Year (Tourism)” and “Best Tourism Innovation Through Technology (Tourism Virtual Summit)” by the Pyne Awards.

She has a first degree in Sociology from Covenant University, Ogun State, and a Post-Graduate degree in Community Relations from Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos State both in Nigeria.

Her hobbies include collecting postcards, stamps, coins, and banknotes, which got her featured-on Forbes Africa as one of Africa’s Aficionado Collectors. She enjoys travelling and exploring cultures; sporting activities, arts, and singing. She is also an Afrocentric Enthusiast who loves to display her African roots.

Gcina Nomsa Dlamini
She is the owner and founder of Merchantry Worldwide (Pty) Ltd South Africa
She was inspired by Madam CJ Walker and a strong advocate for Schumpeter’s school of thought. Gcina Nomsa Dlamini was named one of the Mail& Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans 2021, a winner in the category of Tourism & Hospitality. She is no stranger to the international community. While working in Washington DC, she received a scholarship from Howard University, Advance IT Women in STEM to further her studies in Econometrics & International Business. Her passion for travel started at the tender age of 14, on a visit to Dakar, Senegal. She has hosted multiple delegations and international celebrities both in South Africa and the US, who have a direct interest in investing in South Africa.

Her company Merchantry Worldwide, which means trade was founded on the basis of using travel as a catalyst for business and investment. She has contributed to the South African tourism industry, by exposing international visitors to the rich culture, history, and diversity in the rural parts of the Country also known as ‘hidden gems. She is the Senior Export Manager for Europe & the UK at Wesgro and was the runner-up for the Africa Youth innovation challenge for 2021 in Kigali Rwanda.

She has also been accepted to the IE Brown Executive MBA in 2023.

Tayo Aina
Tayo Aina is one of the African youths who has been able to change the way Africa is viewed by the world through content creation.

He promotes tourism through his pictures and videos, compelling Nigerians and foreigners to visit different parts of the country.

Aina is an independent Photographer, YouTuber, filmmaker, and storyteller who derives pleasure in creating lifestyle, travel, business, and real estate content that showcases the beauty of African businesses and brands.

Above mentioned are the few youths who have been able to promote Africa’s economy through tourism innovation; travel, content creation, business hubs, and many more.

In conclusion, Tourism Innovation has been able to empower the African youth by providing business partnerships, market access, networking & mentorship platforms, and funding solutions from the global marketplace.

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