Strides in Regional Development: The Impact of the SADC Tourism Programme 2020-2030

BERLIN, 6 MARCH 2024 – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has made notable progress in the implementation of its Tourism Programme for the decade spanning 2020 to 2030. Aimed at fostering sustainable tourism across Southern Africa, this programme has been instrumental in facilitating regional growth and development.

Endorsed with support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ, the SADC Tourism Programme lays out a strategic plan to enhance the tourism sector’s capacity. Moreri Mabote, Senior Programme Officer – Tourism at the SADC Secretariat, emphasized the programme’s role in building a solid foundation for regional tourism success. Strategic initiatives have been pivotal in improving visitor movement, destination reputation, and the development of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs), among other areas.

Efforts such as the enhancement of SADC tourist borders, the pilot univisa project involving five countries, and ongoing improvements in air access signify the programme’s hands-on approach to removing travel barriers. These initiatives aim at streamlining border crossings and fostering a seamless travel experience across the region.

Moreover, the introduction of a comprehensive tourism disaster management strategy and customer service training for immigration and border staff marks a step forward in preparedness and visitor satisfaction. The establishment of the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance further underlines the region’s commitment to sustainable tourism growth through collaborative efforts between public and private sectors.

Natalia Rosa, Project Lead at the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, hailed the Alliance’s formation as a pivotal development, facilitating impactful joint initiatives and showcasing the benefits of public-private collaboration in regional tourism development.

Additionally, Boundless Southern Africa’s continued advocacy and promotional activities for SADC’s TFCAs have significantly contributed to the conservation and tourism appeal of these areas. Recent projects, including the development of a detailed tourism map for the Kavango Zambezi TFCA, highlight ongoing efforts to enhance visibility and attract tourism to these unique conservation areas.

The concerted efforts of SADC member states, supported by strategic partners, underscore a dedicated journey towards a more integrated, sustainable, and resilient tourism sector in Southern Africa. These initiatives not only promote economic growth but also contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage across the region.

About the SADC Secretariat: The SADC Secretariat coordinates the Southern African Development Community’s efforts towards regional integration and socio-economic development. By fostering cooperation among its 16 Member States, the Secretariat aims to achieve sustainable economic growth, improving the standard of living and ensuring prosperity in Southern Africa.

About Boundless Southern Africa: Established in 2009, Boundless Southern Africa focuses on marketing the SADC region’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas to promote sustainable tourism and conservation efforts, leveraging promotional campaigns and participation in international trade shows to increase awareness and attract visitors.

About the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance: As a non-profit, membership-based entity, the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance drives travel and tourism excellence across the SADC region. It unites stakeholders from both the private and public sectors, advocating for enhanced travel quality, accessibility, and sustainable growth.