The month of record

Good practice : Inspire Africa

Determined to bring tourists back to Africa, the World Tourism Organization has launched a competition to refine the continent’s brand image. It was a successful initiative with original and innovative applications.  

Encouraging tourists to come (back) to Africa.  This is in short, the ambition of the Inspiration Africa Challenge, a World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) competition in 2020. It invited marketing agencies, creatives and entrepreneurs to propose campaign ideas to position Africa as an attractive destination. In fact, after the near-stop of travel in 2020, this charm operation was anything but trivial. In its press release calling for applications for the competition, the UNWTO recalled that in the wake of “the global outbreak of COVID-19 …, tourism [had] been the worst affected of all major economic sectors.” For the African continent alone, a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicts that by 2021, the decline in tourist arrivals could result in a loss of revenue of between $170 billion and $253 billion.  

 “Harnessing and reinforcing proven resiliency of tourism”

To revive the industry as quickly as possible in this difficult context, the teams of the UN tourism agency have therefore urged “harnessing and reinforcing the proven resiliency of tourism”, in particular by building “a strong destination brand”. From this came the idea of establishing the Inspiration Africa Challenge.  Launched in June last year, in partnership with the American news channel CNN, the program attracted more than 200 entries from top international experts in the fields of marketing, communications and advertising. Above all, it identified the most creative and innovative communication campaigns, the ten best projects being presented at a virtual final on October 16, 2020, which honored the Spanish communication agency ATREVIA for its campaign Ubu’Ubuntu: Africa Invites You To Live’.ntu: Africa Invites You To Live’.

Based on the notion of Ubuntu – a term from the Bantu languages of sub-Saharan Africa that refers to the concepts of humanity and brotherhood – ATREVIA’s communication campaign sought to bring together all the attributes of a plural continent, Africa, within a single concept (Ubuntu) coming in an array of tourism products. Better still, beyond the originality of its proposal, the Spanish communication agency has created Africa’s first emotion map, an innovation that uses Big Data tools to gather comments on lived experiences, thus extracting the positive feelings associated with each country of the continent. 

 “Creating an innovative, high-impact brand campaign”

Awarded for its creativity, spirit of cooperation and commitment to digital innovation”, ATREVIA’s campaign was perfectly in line with UNWTO’s objective to de «create an innovative campaign with a significant impact on the brand in order to position the diversity of Africa and its destinations in the minds of international travelers.”Núria Vilanova, president of ATREVIA and winner of the Inspiration Africa Challenge, said “we at Atrevia we feel proud and privileged to have the opportunity to contribute,” adding at the same time that «we are excited to be in some way ambassadors of such a spectacular region as Africa, with its infinite possibilities that often escape general knowledge.”

Hosting the event, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili closed the ceremony by reminding the audience that “if the restart of tourism is managed in a responsible and coordinated manner, harnessing the power of innovation, entrepreneurship and communication, this sector will be able to transform the lives of millions of people […]. 

This could not have been expressed any better: after the disaster scenario of 2020, which saw the loss of 62 million tourism jobs worldwide-according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)-the best marketing assets will not be enough to drive the sector’s recovery in Africa. 

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