INVESTOUR 2021: XII Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa

INVESTOUR 2021: XII Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa

20 May 2021, Madrid, Spain | 10:30 – 14:00 | ONLINE

Casa Africa

The 12th edition of the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR), organized jointly by the UNWTO, FITUR and Casa Africa will take place on 20 May 2021 virtually. The forum through which we aim to stimulate sustainable tourism development, attract investment and nurture entrepreneurship in Africa. The event is organized in two sessions: 

  1. The Round Table session, centered around the following topics: Revitalizing the tourism sector post-COVID – Trends and Investment opportunities
  2. Investment Webinar – aims to provide additional tools and resources to African entities in order to increase concrete opportunities for strategic partnerships with collaborators and international investors

Provisional Programme, 20 May 2021

10:30 – 11:15

Official Opening Ceremony

  • Welcome Remarks by Master of Ceremony- Ms. Grandcourt Elcia, Director of the department for Africa (UNWTO)
  • IFEMA Representative
  • Casa África Representative
  • Spanish government representative
  • UNWTO Representative
  • Official photo

Revitalizing the tourism sector post-COVID – Trends and Investment opportunities

The COVID-19 pandemic struck the tourism industry severely across the globe. Destinations which previously suffered from overtourism, found themselves critically affected by the lack of tourist for several months, putting millions of jobs at risk worldwide. As such, the crisis has not only affected the way we live but also the way we travel and can be turned into an opportunity.

Whether it is airlines, cruises, hotels, restaurants or bars, since the outbreak of COVID, safety and social distancing have been absolutely paramount. In a post-COVID-19 world, travelers will be much more cognizant of the need to travel to destinations that make it easy to maintain social distancing practices. This may take the form of itineraries focusing on more remote locations or even the increased popularity of niches such as birding tours and biking tours, where travelers are less likely to come into contact with others. Niches products such as adventure tourism, spiritual tourism or even slow tourism focusing on nomad workers and retirees are becoming very popular and require specific strategies to be successfully implemented.

On the technological aspect, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are other major tourism trends disrupting the industry. Through VR, tourism stakeholders can share an experience with prospective customers showing hotel interiors, restaurant interiors, outdoor tourist attractions and more, all from their home. Augmented Reality smartphone apps can also show tourists information about the area they are exploring. This could be historical details about buildings and landmarks, listings and menus for entertainment venues and local eateries or allow visitors to view artefacts with their original appearance in museums.

This round table will address the following:

  • Identifying and strategizing to reach new markets
  • Fostering the creation and development of new products given the current trends
  • Defining and adopting a plan to promote and support the marketing of new tourism products with the participation of all agents in the sector
  • Building linkages with other rural activities

Moderator: Ms. Grandcourt Elcia, Director of the department for Africa (UNWTO)


  • Mr. Mouhamed Faouzou DEME, Expert in Tourism, Technical advisor of the Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of Senegal
  • Dr. Alfonso Vergara, Founder and President of Fundación Metrópoli
  • Mr. Alberto Virella Gomes, Ambassador-at-Large for the Africa Plan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Closing remarks

12:30 – 13:00

Short break


Welcome address
Jaime Mayaki, Deputy director, Regional Department for Africa at UNWTO
Natalia Bayona, Director Innovation, Education and Investments at UNWTO


Frameworks and Strategies for Tourism Investments during COVID-19
M.A. Figueroa,
Investments Principal at UNWTO


Digital Platforms to enable Tourism Investments during COVID-19
Sarah Russis,
Head of Global Sales at fDi Intelligence, Financial Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard investments in the tourism sector. Announced foreign investment in the tourism sector fell from $48.5bn in 2019 to $12.6bn in 2020 according to fDi intelligence from the Financial Times. This represents foreign direct investment (FDI) into tourism plummeted by 73.2% in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019. The drop in the tourism sector is among the highest, especially when comparing with the Global FDI that collapsed by 42% in 2020 according to UNCTAD. As a result, the sector has lost around $910bn to $1.2trn in export revenues in 2020 compared with 2019 which suggests around 100–120 million direct tourism jobs at risk as the global FDI remains weak in 2021, experiencing a further decline of 5–10%.

In this context, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has prioritized Investments as one of our key areas as we move forward towards the economic recovery. We believe that sustainable investments and its cross-sectorial impact has a multiplier power to strengthen strategic large regional projects, but also the promotion of investments that stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which along with tech startups are an important driver of innovation and jobs creation.

The workshop will focus on frameworks and practical tools to attract, promote and mobilize investments in the tourism sector in Africa. It will provide insights for understanding and enabling the conditions to strengthen the capacities of the Member States that want to take measures to safeguard, attract and promote tourism investment projects during and after the pandemic for a faster economic recovery.


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