The 25th International Tourism Safety Conference, organized by the International Tourism Safety Association has ended in Las Vegas, United States.

The conference provided delegates with new information, trends, strategies and best practices in keeping tourists safe.

A statement issued by the organizers said attendees included global tourism development experts, destination marketing experts, academics, renowned tourism safety and security experts, and officials from over 22 countries.

The conference covered topics such as enhancing the brand equity of Africa beyond safety and security, Israeli model of security regulation, tourism security, European perspective on crimes against tourists and how to pro-actively address the impact of safety and security in tourism marketing.

Mr Kwakye Donkor, the Chief Executive Officer of African Tourism Partners, speaking about Destination Africa and flying the African flag high, said Africa was a multi-faceted destination with 54 unique destinations, and tourists to Africa would always be spoilt for choice.

“Africa is a continent and a world in one continent with unique attractions, vibrant culture and experiences beyond wildlife. Even though tourism safety and security is an issue, it all depends on whether one sees the glass as half full or half empty, but to me, the glass is always half full,” he explained.

Mr Donkor stressed that the issue of tourism safety and security in Africa was not as bad as it was in other parts of the world, simply because African countries and their security agencies know the hot spots of safety and security, and are pro-actively dealing with these.

“Our major challenge, however, is brand equity and perception deficit the continent faces. Therefore, African governments, particularly, tourism agencies and their parent ministries will have to collaborate with their private sector entities to change these perceptions. If not, the momentum building and creating more power brand Africa will not just continue of its own accord,” he added.

He said Africa Tourism Partners with the support of Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture would host the inaugural Africa Tourism Leadership Forum and Awards on August 31st and September 1st, 2018 in Accra, Ghana as their contribution to alleviating the issue of brand equity deficit that Destination Africa faces.

This effort has been recognized by one of the leading African tourism media, Voyages Afriq, which has just joined the Forum’s media partnership.

“We hope this will put more spotlight on Africa’s tourism attractiveness, good stories, investment opportunities and enhance positive perceptions rather than focusing on its safety, securities and other socio-economic challenges only,” Mr Donkor said.

Mr Ray Suppe, President of the International Tourism Safety Association and Executive Director of Customer Safety for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said the safety and security of visitors and residents was a top priority for any destination’s tourism industry, so it was imperative to be aware of the current trends and information.

“For more than two decades, Las Vegas has proudly hosted this important conference where tourism security officials can come together to learn, grow and develop professionally,” he said.

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