Durban - A number of steps are required to ensure Africa increases its share of the global tourism market, African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Friday.

Eliminating complicated visa processes, liberalising air routes, and eliminating poaching were all required for Africa to gain a greater share of the global tourism market, she told a tourism industry indaba in Durban.

Dlamini-Zuma said tourist wanted to visit but were not interested in having to face administrative hurdles.

“We must work on a simplified visa and joint visas,” she said, adding that this would make travelling between countries easier for tourists.

She said the “scourge of poaching” posed a major threat to tourism.

“The scale of poaching shows the existence of a well organised crime ring (working) with high-ranking public officials.”

The loss of wildlife would be catastrophic for future generations as well as future tourism benefits.

She said the AU was aiming to make Africa the preferred travel destination by 2063, but much needed to be done before then.

Dlamini-Zuma said that apart from attracting overseas tourists, Africa also needed to tap into the continent's own 300 million-strong middle class with its growing disposable income.

“We must ensure they spend it (the disposable income) on the continent.” - Sapa