Africa’s tourism industry is the second fastest growing in the world before the Covid-19 outbreak that claimed lives, crashed economy and affect the growing of tourism.
The global tourism really suffered a setback because millions of tourism workers are jobless right now due to the pandemic, airlines have grounded nearly two-thirds of their planes and cruise ships are docked.
Mrs Marie –Ange Lundun is a tourism expert, consultant, and founder of Tokende Africa, a platform in charge of Development and Promotion of tourism in Africa with over 17 years’ experience in various industries.
With over 10 years in travel and tourism, Marie started her career as Marketing and Sales Consultant in charge of French Speaking country at Indaba, South Africa, then worked at the same time as a Tourism Promoter and Sales for Tanzania (SITE), and later become a consultant in many countries for promoting and marketing their destinations.
In this interview with Adewale Adenrele, Tokende Africa boss speaks on “Covid-19 and its Impact on Tourism”, and about her platform which has 4years of installation in DRC and working with direct associate in person of Mrs. Jolie Yombo Mukendi.
She also speaks about her challenges and why she dedicates her expertise and knowledge for her continent as one voice, one promotion, and one marketing to the benefit of Africa.
Below are excerpts:
What are the challenges you faced while doing travel and tourism business and how did you overcome them?
The challenges faced on the exercise of my business are dived in 3 sections:
- In the English speaking countries most of them are assuming being in the leadership position which is actually not and because they cannot be open to other languages therefore, there are losing a big potential market. Although the English speaking is war far advanced in their promotion and have big supports for example of South Africa which got always support form America and UK. I will even support my sentence by the changes of the language in Rwanda which brings them an open market to the world
- In the French speaking countries the barriers is the language, the understanding of the principles and rules in the industry, the lack of research, the insufficient of knowledge in regardless of their potentials. The economic instability makes the government to not be focus on the travel and tourism industry, therefore they are losing opportunities
- They are other countries now that are focusing on very other issues than tourism and travel due to the war, famine and insecurity, therefore they seems to ignore the impact that Tourism can bring to them
The way I overcome those challenges is by taking in charge the communities, the people that are always neglected when its Making Decision time, we work together and educate them in regards the tourism and travel, then we face the government.
We also organize some projects with the African Union for the support and Financing assistance for the African communities.
In tourism, we have aspect of tourism like educational tourism, religious tourism, medical tourism which area has DRC selling point of tourism to world?
Right now in DRC, we are in educational point as we have to educate the communities and so we can also give the same aspect to others.
Can you tell us the major attractions in DRC?
DRC has more than 1024 attractions in total but the major ones are :
Volcano of Nyirangongo, Park Virunga, Park salonga, Park Kahuzi Biega, Zongo falls, Inga falls, Blue lake Kivu, Congo river with all the islands, Park de la vallee de la N’sele, Blind fish, The first chapel in central Africa, The bidge of Marechal, The black lake, The lake Edouard, The slave road that links Kinshasa to the sea point ,The natural hot water source, The spiral road , The bonobo’s village, The lukaya falls, The Tanganyika lake, The Itombwe village, The mount Rwenzori , The baobab of Stanley etc.
I can only number those few among the list and all are natural attractions
African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?
The African culture is their heritage, their uniqueness, their originality… Africa is the only continent which still has the originality on the way of living (Education, Food, Clothing, languages and marriage) I am so proud and feel privileged that God has created me African.
In term tourism, DRC is a force to be reckoned with in Africa with stable economy, how would you educate interested student and potential tourist to visit DRC?
We are taking action of first of all educating people on the conscientiousness of their potentials, the capacity building in what all tourism is about then the continue awareness. To our visitors, we show them our potentials and why they should respect not only DRC but the entire African people.
Few months ago, the global tourism industry was celebrating a record year for travel. Now, it’s decimated and facing a recovery that could possibly take some time. Can you tell us how Covid-19 pandemic has affected travel and tourism industry?
The COVID19 has stop almost everything in the worldwide and it will bring a high economic crisis in the earth around 80% of loss of the worldwide GDP which means that our industry will have to suffer for at least the coming 2 years of the reduced numbers of travelers, therefore accommodation, food, attraction and leisure will have to review their prices if they need to maintain their business though it will be a very tough situation that we all have to face.
Likely Africa will have to get ready for the expansion of the travel and tourism industry because other continents are aware that Africa is the only place safe in the planet to stay, therefore many visitors within these 2 years will be coming to visit and look for the investment opportunities. So Africa must be ready.
As a tour broker and consulting firm, how long precisely do you think global travel will resume to its normal pace?
For Africa, it will be surprisingly early than others but globally I will say 2 years
Airlines have grounded nearly two-thirds of their planes as passengers vanish. Cruise ships are docked. Millions of people who depend on tourism are laid off or furloughed. How do you think tourism can bounce back and survive?
Discounted sales, educational tourism and service, indoor tourism, promote the local tourism consumption, free visa in Africa for African to promote the Intra-Tourism within the African continent, the carryover service etc.
Many destinations anticipate travelers’ behavior will change in the virus’s wake. What measure have you put in place to sensitize and educate potential tourist /travelers to erase the fear of covid-19?
The reality shows that Africa is well protected and I’m assuming that WHO does not want us to say that because of their business making on selling the vaccine but yet Africa has proved that it’s not the black mark in this planet so the plan will remain education of the communities and tourists, but moreover the promotion of our positive benefit that COVID 119 has brought in us.
Lastly, African Development Magazine would like to partner Tokende African tourism for promotion and coverage of tourism business, would you support this development?
We would like to be tourism business partner for promotion and event coverage with African Development Magazine
Thank you for sharing with us.
You are welcome