retosa 1Africa receives 3 percent of the tourism receipts in the world, and it also gets 5 percent of arrivals. Of these, Southern Africa only receives 2 percent of both, yet the region has, if put together, arguably the best tourism resource base in the world. In this respect, RETOSA believes it is strategic for the youth to become a driving force in tourism development at the national and regional level so that the region grows its share of the global tourism cake.

Following this line of thinking, the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) has announced its second annual Youth in Tourism Essay Competition, in line with the UNWTO World Tourism Day theme. The main objective of the competition is to raise youths' awareness of the importance of green measures for the travel and tourism industry.

The theme of this 2014 competition is "Sustainable Tourism Development: Tourism and Development in the Community." RETOSA is targeting children at the primary and secondary school levels, and the organization also hopes to make tourism a part of their school curriculum.

RETOSA is hoping Southern Africa's youth will come out in great numbers and provide their input on tourism development in Southern Africa, specifically focusing on how the youth can play and active and meaningful role in the region's tourism development now and in the future.

The essay competition will consist of two sub-themes for the primary and secondary school categories. For the primary school category, for children ages 7-13, the topic of their essay is: What has tourism done to improve the lives of the people in my country?

Participants are encouraged to identify a tourism organization of their choice within their country and identify how it has benefitted the peopled in their community. Participants can also take a country focus and identify the key area in the tourism sector that has improved the lives of people in their country. This essay should be no less than 500 words and no more than 750.

In the secondary (high school) category, children ages 14-18 have the topic of: What can be done to enhance the use of tourism as a tool for socio-economic development in my country by the government and/or private sector?

Participants for this essay are encouraged to use examples from within their country identifying how tourism has impacted various factors in socio-economic development in their countries, and identify gaps they believe exist that should be addressed by the government and/or private sector. The essay for this group should no less than 1,000 words and no more than 1,500.

Judges will select the best 10 essays from each category, and these will be published on the RETOSA website. From these selected essays, the judges will choose the 3 essays from each category and ask writers to present their essays at the Youth in Tourism Conference in Mauritius from September 25-26, 2014. The overall two winners - one from each category - will be nominated as the Southern Africa Junior Tourism Minister (high school winner) and Deputy Junior Tourism Minister (primary school).

RETOSA will publish the winning stories (the overall winning story and the shortlisted stories) on its website, and the overall winners will take part in publicity activities including social media, and where possible, will undertake a program of regional outreach activities to develop and promote youth and tourism in the region.

Entrants must be citizens of a SADC country and have current residence in a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) country. SADC countries are: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The deadline to submit essays is July 7, 2014.

For further information, email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit the RETOSA website at visit the RETOSA website at http://www.retosa.co.za/

Source: RETOSA, ETN

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