For travelers looking for a unique holiday experience, small group travels are one of the best ways to do so.
They usually offer tourists an opportunity to interact with local people and this has seen new small businesses in the tourism sector open up across the region. Africa is no longer just regarded as a wildlife travel destination for the famous Big 5- elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos.
Each African country has unusual activities and attractions to be put on the bucket list. Those unique ranges of activities and products are offered by small tourism businesses mostly run by owners. They are able to work efficiently and go the extra mile for their businesses to grow.
Such businesses play a big role in developing this new age travel market where tourists look more for a personalized experience rather than sightseeing. A visit to local projects supporting women fighting gender-based violence, gender inequality, and discrimination, projects providing vocational training to women who didn’t get a chance to pursue a formal education is among activities part of the responsible tourism program. Why is Integrating local communities in the tourism value chain now important?
Tourism a solution to youth unemployment in Africa
Youth unemployment is a critical concern on the African continent where the majority of the population is young. Despite many challenges, tourism in Africa continues to grow and is increasingly providing jobs to the youth.
Tourism contributes to the gross domestic product at a rate of 8.5 percent, and youth employment in particular. It is an important sector for the African economies, and its growth generates new jobs for the youth which is more than 50% of the population of the continent.
However, small tour companies in Africa face tremendous challenges in exploiting the potential of the tourism market due to a lack of marketing power. To better utilize the potential of the tourism sector for inclusive and transformational growth, there is a need for governments and private organizations to support those initiatives. Tourism can efficiently be a channel to an inclusive economic growth if the appropriate measures are taken.
Integrating local communities in the tourism value chain.
Tourism can unlock economic opportunities for the rural areas, where less advantaged communities(particularly women and youth) are concentrated, to attract tourism. Those communities are well-positioned to provide diversified products such as handicrafts and music among others.
Vocational pieces of training such as apprenticeship programs can enhance the female and youth participation in the growth of the tourism sector. They would equip them with skills to promote innovation and growth in their communities.
Close cooperation between the local communities and tour operators is more essential for better integration of the local communities into the tourism value chain.
African leaders should implement policies to encourage young entrepreneurs to equip them with skills for better competitiveness in the tourism business. This would contribute to the inclusive growth of the economy and youth employment.
Tourists looking for unique travel experiences, interaction with locals, part of the responsible travel programs, are encouraged to work with small tour companies.