Cape Town, 25 April 2020 – The launch of Walk4Africa (W4A) – a sustainable tourism development project that aims to convene walkathon events along the coastlines of 38 African countries – has been postponed to September 2021.
According to W4As first newsletter, the current coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in global lockdowns and travel restrictions, has scuppered the initiatives’ Project Plan to officially launch on World Tourism Day (27 September 2020) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The launch is now being postponed to take place in 2021, on the same day and at the same venue.
“Postponing the official launch to 2011 is not a bad thing,” says Desmond Langkilde, the Founder of Walk4Africa. “It gives us more time to build our global network and Country Steering Committees. And to register the NPO, develop the Walk4Africa.org website, walkathon registration platform, and marketing collateral for each country.”
Walk4Africa aims to become the World’s longest walkathon when it convenes a series of multi-stage public-participation walkathon events along the coastlines of Africa’s 38 countries and ocean islands – a combined distance of approximately 40,000 km (25,000 miles) or 52 million steps.
The primary purpose of the W4A project is to unite African nations in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 objectives by:
- Researching, measuring, enhancing, and educating on the 17 SDGs;
- Developing partnerships with public and private sector organisations, institutional investors, civil society, and scientific institutions to facilitate actions and responses;
- Identifying new sustainable tourism product and service opportunities in collaboration with local communities, tourism experts, and governments, to create much-needed jobs in rural areas;
- Researching the impact of plastic pollution on marine environments along Africa’s coastlines and river estuaries;
- Creating global awareness of Africa’s abundant natural beauty, pristine beaches, and cultural heritage to grow inbound tourism numbers (particularly ecotourists) in Africa.
Across Africa and around the world, tourism is crucial. It plays a vital role in sustainable development, conservation, employment, international understanding and economic growth.
“For tourism businesses to survive the post-COVID-19 pandemic, they will need international tourists to give them hope and to help them with their recovery, so that they, in turn, can support and sustain their local communities and natural environments,” says Langkilde.
“When the time comes, travel and tourism will be very important activities. And Walk4Africa will play a significant role in the recovery process,” he concludes.