The Global Expert Panel Aims to Strengthen Africa’s Tourism And Travel Sector By Driving Sustainable Growth and Global Recognition

The Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) has announced today the launch of the Global Expert Panel on tourism and travel for Africa, led by its member agency, the Newmark Group, a strategic communications and advisory firm headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. This pioneering initiative brings together top communications and marketing experts and leaders from across the world to arm tourism and destination management organisations with deep local insights and data from source countries. It underscores the importance of understanding cultural nuances to significantly enhance the market presence and reimagine Africa’s tourism narrative globally.

Tourism and Travel in Africa has experienced impressive growth since the start of the millennium, as highlighted by a World Travel & Tourism Council report. In 2022, the sector contributed nearly 6% to Africa’s GDP, playing a vital role in economic stability and supporting 22 million jobs across the continent.

Amid this backdrop, the establishment of PRGN’s Global Expert Panel in tandem with The Newmark Group is essential for leveraging Africa’s tourism potential for sustainable development and inclusive growth. By addressing key challenges and tapping into the expertise of global communication and marketing professionals, the panel aims to push Africa’s tourism industry to new heights and boost its visibility as a top travel destination.

“To elevate Africa’s tourism sector, destination marketers must harness global capabilities and adopt a holistic approach to branding and marketing. PRGN provides unparalleled global resources and local expertise, delivering a unique insight to meet new needs and thus capture market shares,” said PRGN President Natacha Clarac at the formation of the Global Expert Panel for tourism and emphasised the competitive nature of global tourism.

“Data and analyses that our team has carried out indicate that many African destinations significantly suffer from negative perceptions among target audiences abroad, mainly due to historically negative headlines in global media,” said Gilbert Manirakiza, CEO of the Newmark Group and Co-Chair of PRGN’s Global Expert Panel. “We must equip destination marketers with the insights, tools, content, and campaigns that not only capture the attention of potential travellers but also credibly tell the vibrant and diverse stories of our attractions.”

“Africa’s tourism and travel sector is lively, but consumer trends, media consumption behaviour and travellers’ demographics are constantly shifting in source markets. This is the reason why we set out to bring together top experts who can design and help implement strategies that will position Africa’s destinations as preferred, relatable, and trusted attractions. This will help promote sustainable growth and enhance the cultural and economic fabric of local communities,” said Christina Rytter, Founder and Managing Director of Scandinavian Communications in Denmark, Co-Chair of the Global Expert Panel and PRGN’s Vice President for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

The Global Expert Panel for Tourism and Travel in Africa is committed to a long-term partnership aimed at driving positive change and improving this sector. The members of the Global Expert Panel include:

● Christina Rytter – Founder, Scandinavian Communications (Copenhagen, Denmark)
● Gilbert Manirakiza – CEO, The Newmark Group (Nairobi, Kenya)
● Bill Southard – CEO, Southard Communications (New York, USA)
● Shawn Jiang Xiaofeng – Managing Director, China Advocate (Beijing, China)
● Bradly Howland – CEO, Alkemi Collective (Cape Town, South Africa)
● Sara Pearson – Founder and Chairman, Spider (London, United Kingdom)
● Uwe Schmidt – Managing Partner at Industrie-Contact AG (Hamburg, Germany)

Public Relations Germany: Industrie-Contact AG

● Stephane Billiet – Vice President, We Change (Paris, France)
● Valentina Giacaman Hazboun – Founder, RumboCierto Comunicaciones (Santiago, Chile)
● Dominique Biquard – Founder & Partner, Identia PR (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

● Loreley Maldonado – CEO & Founder, Eje Comunicación (Mexico City, Mexico)
● Susan McNair – Partner, Currie (Melbourne, Australia)
● Lovelyn Okafor – Newmark Country Lead (Nigeria )


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