By Amindeh Blaise Atabong
The tourism and leisure personnel have concerted on ways to make gains from the continental tourney as well as render it unique.
Actors in the leisure and tourism sector grouped under the Hotel Industries and Tourism Employer’s Federation (SPIHT) are aiming to entertain some one million internal and foreign tourists as the country hosts the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, next year.
The members of the syndicate held a concertation in Yaounde, Tuesday July 24, 2018 to brainstorm on ways of giving the soccer jamboree a unique Cameroonian perspective, while making economic gains from it. The meeting was chaired by Eitel Akame, Permanent Secretary of the National Tourism Council.
The meeting was also an occasion for the stakeholders to be sensitised on the project to draw up a charter for hotel reception of guests during the AFCON. The Prime Minister, Head of Government Philemon Yang had in June 2018, ordered for the putting in place of a plan of action to receive and host foreign guests.
Going by Chantal Lewat, National President of SPIHT, hotel owners say they are ready for the event but SPIHT wants to make sure all member hotels and related structures are absolutely ready at least two months to the start of the competition in June 2019.
The National President noted that their syndicate has entered into a partnership with a microfinance institution to enable members get loan packages of up to FCFA 100 million for renovation works, expansion and other investments.
“Though the football event will benefit us all, we are trying to bring back the spirit of competition amongst ourselves,” Chantal Lewat disclosed, adding that every Cameroon would be made a participant. She said they want to bring home people within and out of the country, and make the competition unique through a never-seen hospitality, special cuisines and exotic attractions.
Cameroon seeks to hit a target of 1 million tourists by 2020, according to the country’s Growth and Employment Strategy Paper. But stakeholders in the tourism and leisure sector want to take advantage of the continental jamboree to reach that target next year.