‘Disunity not helping African tourism’

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From left - Kwazulu Natal premier, Sihle Zikalala,; South African Tourism Interim board chairperson, Advocate Mojanku Gumbi; Minister of Tourism Ms Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu and South African Tourism acting chief executive, Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo at the official opening of the Africa's Travel Indaba at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. – Picture: Silence Mugadzaweta

BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA in Durban, South Africa
AFRICAN countries must collaborate to advance tourism on the continent, South African Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu said yesterday.

Speaking to the media at Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, Sisulu said Africa needed to tell her story through tourism.

“We are 54 unique countries within the continent and there is beauty in the appreciation of the unique attributes of each country. By telling our own stories, we ensure that the world understands the beauty of our continent beyond any pre-conceived stereotype they may have of Africa,” she said.

“As we do business, we must remember that our continent is also our own market. All countries in Africa have potential for domestic tourism growth. Intra-continental tourism from Africa’s rapidly growing economies and growing middle class is an opportunity begging to be explored. We need improved collaborative efforts between our countries to achieve this.”

Latest statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation show that global international tourist arrivals more than doubled in January 2022 with 18 million more visitors travelling worldwide compared to the same period in 2021.

“In January 2022, Africa saw a leap in growth of 51% in 2022 over 2021 and we all reap the benefits when travel and tourism recovers.” Sisulu said.

Sisulu added that Africa continues to struggle with numerous barriers to tourism growth such as poor road infrastructure between major cities, and stringent immigration regulations.

Speaking at the same occasion, Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said failure by Africa to implement a unitary visa system was a huge impediment to regional integration and tourism growth.

“There is no point in someone who has obtained a visa to come to South Africa and having to obtain another visa to go to Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Namibia or elsewhere. We should be able to recognise the visa that each of our countries has already issued,” Tshivhengwa said.

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