COMESA Tourism Forum draft agenda released

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COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the COMESA Business Council have now released the draft agenda for the upcoming Tourism Forum to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, between Augus

COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the COMESA Business Council have now released the draft agenda for the upcoming Tourism Forum to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, between August 22 and 24.

The lineup of speakers is now largely confirmed, with some changes from the earlier versions of the agenda, and still makes impressive reading with tourism and aviation experts coming from as far as the Seychelles, Ethiopia, Zambia, and, of course, the East African Community member states to deliver their keynote speeches and topical addresses to the plenary sessions.

Notably, this correspondent will read the welcome message by the UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai to the plenary session, before later in the proceedings appearing again as a speaker and then as a moderator.

This first meeting by COMESA, focusing entirely on the hugely important tourism industry in the 19 member trade block, is seen as a starting point to develop a more integrated approach across the membership and to have the more advanced countries with significant tourism sectors share some of their experience with those member countries still at the very start of tapping into their tourism resources and marketing them.

Expect live reporting from on site in Nairobi next week to stay informed on the proceedings and the recommendations the forum will make for COMESA to consider for action in coming months.


Theme: Shaping the Future of Tourism in the Region

August 22-23, 2012, Nairobi, Kenya

Venue: Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club

DAY ONE- August 22, 2012


09.00 – 10.00 Official Opening Ceremony

Opening Remarks:

. CEO, Kenya Tourist Board
. Chairman of COMESA Business Council
. Secretary General, COMESA

OFFICIAL OPENING STATEMENT – Hon Minister of Tourism, Conservation and Natural
Resources, Kenya

10.00-10.30: Group Photograph – Coffee Break and Networking Session

10.30- 11.15: Session 1

Innovative Tourism: Success stories among key business leaders in Africa

Moderator: Mr. Thierry Kalonji, Acting Director, IPPSD, COMESA Secretariat


. Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines
. Mrs. Rosemary Mugambi, Marketing Manager, Serena Hotel
. Mr. Josue Cesar, Manager Tourism Product and Visitor Services, Seychelles Tourism


11.15- 12.00: Session 2

Tourism Sector: Expanding economic opportunities and regional development to impact
the global economy

Moderator: Mr. Eric S. Maseko, CEO, Swaziland Tourism Authority (TBC)


. UN World Tourism Organization, Message of the Secretary General – Read by Prof.
Wolfgang H. Thome
. Ms. Agatha Juma, CEO, Kenya Tourism Federation
. Mr. Josue Cesar, Manager – Tourism Product and Visitor Services, Seychelles
Tourism Board


12.00- 12.45: Session 3

The COMESA Sustainable Tourism Development Framework: Basis for Policy and


. Mr. Thierry Mutombo, Director of Investment Promotion and Private Sector
Development, COMESA
. Rosette Rugamba, Tourism Expert


12.45- 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00- 15.00: Session 3 (continues)

Sustainable Tourism: Prioritizing the tourism industry to ensure corporate and
environmental responsibility for community development

Focusing on:

. Foster collaboration in terms of trans-frontier agreements and resource management
. Encourage the prioritization of the tourism sector at the national level for economic and
social development
. Improve the collection of tourism data and capturing of statistics

Moderator: Mr. Kahindi Lekalhaile, CEO, Ecotourism Kenya


. Mr. Gibson Phiri, Deputy General Manager, Garden Groups Hotel
. Mr. Amon Wekesa, President, Uganda Tourism Association
. Mr. Helen Lubowa, Chief Executive Officer, UCOTA


15.00- 16.00: Session 3 (continues)

Relaxation of Visa requirements

Focusing on:

. Creation and implementation of a COMESA single visa
. Encourage country immigration authorities develop an appropriate framework to
facilitate adoption of single tourist visa for the region
. Integrate flexibilities in immigration requirements to allow visa requirements for
extensions of legitimate activities

Moderator: Ms. Rosette Rugamba, Tourism Expert


. Mr. Simba Mandinyenya, Director, Research, Planning and Development- RETOSA
. Kenya Ministry of Immigration (TBC)
. Prof. Wolfgang H. Thome, Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands Correspondent,
eTurboNews Inc


16.00 – 16.15 Coffee Break

16.15 – 17.15: Session 3 (continues)

Coalition in the Tourism Industry: Regional Cooperation amongst players in the tourism

Moderator: Ms. Lucy Karume, Chairperson, Kenya Tourism Federation (TBC)


. Mr. Francis Ngwenya, Vice President (Hospitality), Zimbabwe Tourism Council
. Mr. Shadrack Mashauri, Principal Tourism Officer, EAC Secretariat
. Ms. Rosemary Mugambi, Marketing Manager, Serena Group of Hotels
. Ms. Waturi Matu, Coordinator, East African Tourism Platform (TBC)



DAY TWO: August 23, 2012

08.30 – 09.30: Session 3 (continues)

Tourism and Climate Change: Conserving biodiversity for tourism development

Focusing on:

. Involving the private sector in the formulation of tourism regulations, industry and policy
frameworks at the national and regional levels
. Consider tourism sector’s response to climate change
. Enhance the development of ecotourism at the national and regional levels

Moderator: Dr. Amany Asfour, Board Member, COMESA Business Council


. Mr. Jamil Butt, Tourism Ambassador to Zambia, Seychelles.
. Mr. Edwin Sebuhoro- CEO, Eco-tours Rwanda
. Mr. Charles Arden Clarke, Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism (TBC)
. Mr. George Manyara, Tourism Office, IGAD (TBC)


09.30 – 10.30: Session 3 (continues)

Upgrading the tourism industry standards and developing human and institutional capacities

Focusing on:

. Conduct and initiate relevant research, which is regional in scope, on the impact of the
tourism industry on natural and socio-cultural environments
. Provide necessary training and technical support to members countries to enable them
to meet necessary standards, as well as training for regional and international
. Implement appropriate policies to ensure skills transfer and provisions for a skilled
regional labour force

Moderator: Dr. Amany Asfour, Board Member, COMESA Business Council


. Dr. Nsengimana Hemogene, Secretary General, Africa Standardization Organization
. Mr. Jeffreys Manjengwa, Zimbabwe Tourism Board
. Dr. Kenneth Ombongi, Principal, Utalii College (TBC)


10.30-10.45 – Networking Coffee Break

10.45 – 11.45: Session 3 (continues)

Tourism and Infrastructure Development: Information and Communications Technology
(ICT) and Air Transport

Focusing on:

. Develop e-tourism policies and strategies both at the national and regional levels
. Encourage Member states to develop ICT infrastructure to facilitate the tourism sector in
the region
. Consider the challenges affecting the air transport industry and way forward
. Promote interconnectivity in air transport for tourism development in the region, taking
consideration the responsibility of governments and air service providers

Moderator: TBA


. Mr. Damien Cook, Director, Managing Director, E- Tourism Frontiers Limited
. Mr. Tewolde, Gebre Mariam, CEO, Ethiopia Airlines


11.45 – 12.45: Session 3 (continues)

Tourism Product Development and Marketing

Focusing on:

. Branding COMESA as a single destination;
. Creating innovative products that are competitive
. Developing affordable transfrontier and regional tourism packages;

Moderator: TBA


. Ms. Doris Kofi,Zambia Tourism Board
. Mr. Fred Okeyo, Regional Marketing Manager, Kenya Tourist Board (TBC)


12.45 – 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 15.00:

Formation of the CBC tourism workgroup –

Introduction by Ms. Sandra Uwera, Coordinator, COMESA Business Council

Consideration of the recommendations of the forum

Closing remarks


About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.