By Scoop Reporter
UNITED Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) Chairperson Ronald Chitotela has called on the tourism sector leaders on the continent to appreciate the importance of intra-Africa travel.
Speaking when he addressed the 63 UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa Virtual Meeting yesterday, Chitotela says it is unfortunate that Africa has neglected intra-travel for a long time.
He says he believes that the only way Africa’s tourism industry will be sustainable is when the continent changes its marketing strategies and approaches by focusing the tourism promotional and marketing efforts on intra-Africa travel.
“African Tourism will only be sustainable once the continent overcomes the challenges that are currently hindering many Africans from travelling within the continent, with travelers finding it easier and more cost effective to travel abroad than within the continent,” Mr. Chitotela said.
And UNWTO Secretary General Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili says there is need for Africa to do more to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 as the continent starts to re-open the boarders for international travelers.
He says normal international travels are expected to resume in the month of September 2020 and that there is need for the continent to work on infrastructure for restart of the opening of the airwaves.
He says Africa suffered a decrease in travelers from 60 percent to 80 percent and that more than 2 million jobs have been lost world over.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC) Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid says the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about challenges in the aviation sector and interruption of marine corridors.
She says this has led to negative effects on both household and national economies and the sooner the tourism sector rebounds the better.
The meeting was scheduled to take place in Seychelles in the historical and botanical city of Victoria on Mahé Island in April but could not take place due Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Mahé Island is renowned of one of Africa’s best white-sand beaches, endemic palms and orchids, as well as giant tortoises and fruit bats. Today, the city of Victoria has emerged as one of Africa’s important cities on our continent home to a vibrant, friendly and hospitable people with a rich cultural heritage.