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2018, október 23 - 08:00

Seychellois appointed acting CEO of regional tourism body

Seychellois Kenneth Racombo has been appointed the acting chief executive (CEO) of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa).

His appointment took effect on Thursday September 7, 2017.

Retosa is responsible for the development of tourism and destination marketing across the Southern Africa member States, in collaboration with both the public and private sector.

Aside of Seychelles, the Retosa-member countries include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mr Racombo was appointed as the organisation’s executive responsible for resource mobilisation and development in May this year. In his new role as acting CEO, he will be leading the management through a focused process of securing much needed strategic partnerships, funding and an innovative tourism value proposition for the region.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Racombo said he is grateful for the confidence vested in him by Retosa.

He said that although the task ahead is very challenging, he is determined to ensure that the organisation works towards achieving its vision of increasing tourist arrivals and tourism receipts within the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, with the support of a strong director for marketing and communications and an experienced director for research and information management.

“With the aim of making tourism a key pillar to the economic development of SADC two key priorities for the organisation will be brand promotion and marketing and the involvement of private sector. The organisation will also need to engage in resource mobilisation and innovative ways of financing its projects and key activities. There is also the need for the organisation to work very closely with the tourism and investment bureaus of the SADC member states to ensure complementarity,” he added.

Mr Racombo’s career has been primarily focussed on economic diplomacy and regional integration.

Before joining Retosa in May, he was the director general at the Seychelles’ department of Foreign Affairs, where he also started his career as an economist. He also served as the permanent liaison officer for Seychelles to the Indian Ocean Commission.

He holds a degree in economics from the University of Mauritius, a master’s degree in diplomatic studies with the University of Pretoria, and a master’s degree in leadership and strategic management with the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland.

With tourism being the mainstay of the Seychelles economy, Mr Racombo’s appointment by Retosa, although interim, is viewed as an important milestone in Seychelles’ endeavour to be more engaged in tourism development at the multilateral level, and more so in the SADC region.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said: “Seychelles is indeed very proud to see one of its citizens assume this esteemed office. Just by assuming this position he will be putting Seychelles at the forefront, providing added visibility for the country. On behalf of the ministry, staff and management of STB I would like to convey our good wishes to Mr Racombo and extend our support.”

Retosa, which has been in existence for 20 years, recently embarked on a comprehensive transformation process. This was agreed upon by ministers attending the seventh meeting of SADC ministers responsible for tourism held in Gaborone, Botswana, in July last year.

The organisation has also announced its repositioning strategy, which is aimed towards achieving its vision of increasing the SADC region’s share of tourism to 5 percent of global tourist arrivals and receipts within the next decade up from its current share of 2 percent.