Call to exploit Pan-African tourism potential
DAR ES SALAAM, Oct 31 (NNN-DAILYNEWS) — TOURISM stakeholders from across Africa have highlighted the need to put more focus on domestic and intra-regional tourist activities, as well as strengthening the sector’s supply chain.
The stakeholders in the tourism sector gathered in Dar es Salaam to discuss Covid-19 recovery efforts, having the pandemic affected the sector across the world.
They said domestic tourism has been overlooked for a long time in the continent, thus the sector needs to be oriented towards more diversified markets so that there is greater resilience in future.
Delivering a keynote address on ‘Tourism Post Covid-19: The South African experience’ Professor Ndivhuwo Tshipala, Department of Tourism Management’s Tshwane University said Africa has long relied on foreign visitors.
“This came to light during the Covid-19 pandemic.” This is especially true for Eastern and Southern African countries, which have developed significant leisure, and safari-oriented facilities that appeal to European, American, Asian, and other visitors,” he said.
He was speaking at the second International Conference on Linking Industry Academia in Tourism and Hospitality Sector in Developing Countries (LIATH-DC), which was hosted by the National College of Tourism (NCT) and focused on the theme ‘Post Covid Resilience and Recovery Strategy in Developing Countries.’
Prof Tshipala further said there was a need to strengthen domestic tourism especially by targeting cultural trends to induce domestic tourism.
“There are so many cultural groups that we can use instead of depending on wildlife tourism solely,” Prof Tshipala said.
He said over the past 20 years, tourism has become vital to African economies. In 2019, the industry accounted for about seven per cent of Africa’s GDP and contributed 169 billion US Dollars to its economy.
Africa’s travel and tourism sector employed more than 24 million people in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
According to him, Africa’s growing middle class, a rapidly growing population of young adventurers, and the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area by the number of participating countries, are among the pillars seen as supporting the continent’s future growth in domestic and regional tourism.
He said another area that the African continent must work on in the recovery and resilience phase is connectivity.
“We have an issue where the African market is not conducive to African people, you will be shocked that an airline ticket to visit an African country can be expensive more than when one decides to go to Turkey to stay there in a three-star hotel,” he said.
Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Pindi Chana said the government has increased the promotion of tourist attractions, thus increasing the number of tourists to 922,692 tourists in 2021 from 620,867 tourists in 2020.
“The country has also seen an increase in tourism income of 83 per cent, from 714.59 million US dollars in 2020 to 1,310.34 million US dollars in 2021.” While the average tourist spending per day in Tanzania increased to 199 US dollars from 152 US dollars,” she explained.