Cape Town - Tourism ministers and officials from a number of African countries on Monday joined a tourism round-table in the Mother City, highlighting green tourism and connectivity, among others, for Africa's tourism growth.
An African ministerial round-table with the theme of tackling challenges for future investments in Africa's tourism industry was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre during the three-day World Travel Market Africa, where the officials participated in person or virtually.
There are only about 70 million travellers among Africa’s 1.3 billion people, while only 26 African cities are connected to international standards. African countries therefore need to improve connectivity by air and open up their skies to establish a domestic market, said Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya.
In this way, airfare can be affordable and Africa will be able to move from an expensive destination to an affordable destination, not only for foreigners, but also for domestic people, according to Balala, who also suggested relaxing visa regimes in Africa.
Ministers also spoke of the need for “going green” in the tourism sector. Botswana looks at sustainability as a key to facilitating the growth of the tourism sector, said Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Philda Kereng.
“We have to conserve and preserve natural resources, on the base of which we are developing and serving products,” she said, adding that the southern African country has revised its tourism policy to make it responsive and resilient to climate change.
“Going green is the way for tourism development that is based on the natural resources,” she said.
The Kenyan minister also said that Africa could utilise its vast solar energy potential and become a leader in green tourism.
The participants also talked about the need for a co-ordinated African Covid-19 protocol framework, digitalisation in the tourism sector and a central financing institution for tourism.
World Travel Market Africa includes a business-to-business tourism exhibition and other events, to bring benefits and opportunities to travel professionals in Africa.