SADC Tourism Shows Strong Progress In Boosting Regional Development


Story by Environmental Reporter

BERLIN – Southern Africa has made significant strides in advancing its Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tourism Programme 2020-2030.
The SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030 serves as a comprehensive roadmap for guiding and coordinating the development of a sustainable tourism industry in the Southern African region. With the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ, its focus is on facilitating the removal of barriers to tourism development and growth.
Moreri Mabote, Senior Programme Officer – Tourism at SADC Secretariat, says: “The SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030 provides a powerful framework for achieving regional tourism success. Its strategic goals, including enhanced visitor movement, destination reputation, TFCA development, exceptional experiences, and powerful partnerships, lay a strong foundation. The progress we’re seeing is a testament to the program’s strength and the commitment of all stakeholders.”
Key initiatives already underway or completed to foster the region’s tourism development include:
•Enhancing SADC tourist borders: An initiative to actively enhance tourist experiences at SADC borders has been launched. This initiative focuses on auditing existing conditions at Kazungula and Beitbridge with a view to understanding best practice, gaps and opportunities which would streamline processes for travellers, making border crossings more efficient across the region.

•SADC univisa development: A pilot project involving five countries has been launched, following the approval of a legal framework and revenue-sharing models by the Council of Ministers. This initiative aims at facilitating seamless visitor movement across the region, enhancing the travel experience, and boosting tourism.

•SADC air access Study: Ongoing efforts to improve air access within the region include workshops with government and aviation stakeholders, highlighting the interconnection between tourism and aviation and addressing sector-specific challenges.

•Tourism disaster management and crisis communication strategy: A comprehensive strategy has been developed to enhance the region’s preparedness and resilience in facing tourism-related crises, with the first pilot training session already conducted for public sector stakeholders.
•Customer service training for immigration and border staff: The SADC Secretariat is spearheading the development of customer service training programmes for immigration officers and border post staff, aimed at improving the border crossing experience for visitors.
A notable step forward has been the establishment of the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, which serves as a critical platform for cultivating responsible and sustainable tourism growth across Southern Africa.
As a non-profit, membership-based body bringing together private and public sector stakeholders, the Alliance strives to unite key industry players to create a collective impact. With tourism identified as an economic pillar for the SADC region, the Alliance facilitates crucial initiatives around investment, marketing, skills development, route expansion and more.
Central to the Alliance’s mission is mobilising collaboration amongst tourism authorities, hospitality associations, conservation groups and other partners across the region. Through shared knowledge and coordinated strategies, the aim is to boost visitor numbers, preserve natural and cultural heritage, create jobs, and drive socio-economic advances.
Natalia Rosa, Project Lead SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, explains further: “The creation of the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance has been a watershed moment. It provides a structured link between the private sector and the SADC Secretariat, enabling joint initiatives with tangible impact. This exemplifies the power of effective collaboration in regional tourism development.”
Meanwhile, Boundless Southern Africa continues its vital work promoting SADC’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). The organisation’s multifaceted efforts have been diverse and impactful, encompassing the development of tourism brochures and branding for various TFCAs, the production of promotional videos, the execution of online training platforms, press trips, and familiarization trips for tour operators.
In the realm of specific projects, Boundless Southern Africa’s has just concluded the development of a detailed tourism map for the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), which itself has executed several initiatives in the past year to raise its visibility, including hosting press and trade familiarisation trips such as the ASA goes KAZA fam trip, developing a new tourism destination brand and marketing strategy, and spearheading the Great KAZA Birding Route initiative.
Tourism remains a pivotal economic sector for the SADC region and these initiatives represent key milestones in a journey towards a more integrated, sustainable, and resilient tourism sector. The commitment of SADC member states, along with the support of strategic partners, sets a promising course for the future of tourism in Southern Africa.

About the SADC Secretariat

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat serves as the coordinating and implementing agency for the SADC, a regional organization comprising 16 Member States. Its primary mandate is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development by fostering regional integration, cooperation, and coordination among Member States. The SADC Secretariat is committed to enhancing the well-being, improving the standard of living, and ensuring the long-term prosperity of the people of Southern Africa through the implementation of various development programs, including the SADC Tourism Programme, in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals and principles.







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