The shock of the coronavirus for the global economy and financial markets is without a doubt a unique event, the economic disruption is enormous on both supply and on the demand side. The impact on the markets, and in particular on the global market is unprecedented in recent history. With the Tourism industry heavily affected, Destinations are turning to consultants in search for a Tourism Recovery Strategy. Mike Tavares, a dynamic, results oriented leader with a strong track record of performance in the Tourism and Hospitality industry worldwide, discusses the future of tourism in Africa.

The business of Tourism

As tourism consultant, how do you see the current Global situation?

Mike Tavares: The covid-19 crisis is having massive impacts on the tourism sector, many of which will reshape the industry’s future landscape. We foresee a likely recovery scenario starting with business travel followed by MICE, and only in a third stage, by leisure travellers. As consequence, the new normal will likely include everything from the minutiae of sanitation practices to broader topics such as the health of nations, the role of travel insurance, and issues unique to specific modes of travel. Furthermore, price-sensitive travellers may be looking to trade down on products and amenities, we’ll see shorter booking windows, and possibly more trips with lower spends and much briefer itineraries.

How are Destinations dealing with this situation?

Mike Tavares: Unfortunately, apart from the activity and income obtained in January and February, the rest of the year 2020 should be considered a “lost year” for tourism. The industry should start planning for Spring and Summer of 2021.  The situation is unprecedented so to overcome the current challenge many destinations are turning to consultants in search for a Tourism Recovery Strategy. In order to further develop the tourism industry, we are urging African governments to take this opportunity to invest more on the develop of tourism infrastructure and facilities for tourism. After all, they play a vital role in travel and tourism competitiveness, serving as the arteries of the industry.

Do African leaders recognise the importance of Tourism?

Mike Tavares: Worldwide, many leaders don’t! Although growing at a fast pace, Tourism in Africa is still far from its full potential. For the most part, our governments have not taken advantage of the last decade’s growth spurt to move toward diversification. Economic history has shown that without diversification, the long-term development prospects of countries are always bleak. The need for economic diversification in the African continent is high, and by now, we should be taking advantage of all the beautiful sights we have. Due to this lack of diversification, most of Africa’s economies remain dependent on the vagaries of commodity prices in the international market and often on the price of a single resource. 

What is United Consulting’s vision for the African continent?

Mike Tavares: We vision Africa’s large youth population presenting a great opportunity to influence the emergence of a new generation of leaders; we vision more and more African women in position of leadership and as entrepreneurs; we vision the creation of the “Brand Africa” a solid platform where we can proudly share our true story. Yes, we are 54 nations and each one with its own agenda. However, we challenge everyone to see the bigger picture, Africa! Why not more cooperation between us? Why not the opening of our borders for regional tourism? It is actually easier for many non-Africans to travel to a number of African countries than ourselves! If 10% of our population were able to travel, we are talking of 120-Million travellers which doubles the international numbers that came to Africa. All this complemented by the development of advanced tourism education, making the industry attractive for our best minds – the people we need to ensure Africa achieves its tourism potential.

This is the Africa we vision. We may not fully experience it however; United Consulting will be part of the movement that helped to change Africa.

Bio: Mike Tavares

A dynamic, results oriented leader with a strong track record of performance in the Tourism and Hospitality industry worldwide. Mr. Tavares has extensive experience in tourism and hotel consulting, having carried out a variety of assignments while working with Africa United Consulting and on his previous roles as Director of Tourism Development with tourism specialists of PGI Management and as Director of Hotel Operations with hotel specialists of HCI. His background in International Tourism and Hospitality Business provided him with a solid platform and a thorough understanding of the business and its need for constant innovation.

Introduction: Africa United Consulting

AUC is a Management Consulting firm offering a wealth of specialist experience in tourism and hospitality, with clients ranging from international bodies and governments to tourism and hospitality enterprises. The company’s mission is to combine innovative ideas with realistic solutions, based on the principles of sustainability.