AfDB Identifies Transport Infrastructure, US Travel Warnings Bane Of Africa Tourisim
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has identified lack of transport infrastructure is one of the key constraints limiting growth of the tourism sector in Africa.
AfDB revealed said in its publication; The Africa Tourism Monitor; an annual report on the tourism industry in Africa jointly published by the bank, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA).
According to the report Journeys in the African continent are not always seamless, adding that it is more difficult and more expensive to travel across Africa than to get there from Europe, America or the Middle East.
Explaining further, AfDB stated that in 2004 the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) launched its Tourism Action Plan with a view to developing sustainable tourism and that this followed the ratification in 2000 of the Yamoussoukro Decision, which was aimed at opening up the continent’s aviation sector to competition.
The bank lamented that more than a decade on neither initiative has been fully implemented.
The report submitted that effective application of the Yamoussoukro Decision, also known as “Open Skies for Africa”, would alone create 155,000 new jobs and contribute $1.3 billion to the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The report also listed other barriers to tourism sector development in Africa to include: a lack of dedicated incentive policies, the need for closer regional cooperation, weaknesses in infrastructure and security problems.
Security issues, the bank said poses a particular problem for the sector since 2013, especially in North Africa, Mali and coastal regions of Kenya, adding that of the 80 countries, which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa.
It added that although the 2013-2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks only affected West Africa, it created a climate of fear that spread to many other countries on the continent even those far from the source of the outbreak.
The bank submitted that many of Africa’s iconic species; animals that attract tourists from across the globe are on the brink of extinction.
According to the report, poaching and the illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels, calling on African countries to recognise the economic value of their wildlife and to strengthen data production capacities in this area.
It further explained that apart from their effect on the economy, these illegal activities also have a damaging impact on bio-diversity.
According to AfDB, “Although international tourism is on the rise in Africa, the continent currently accounts for just 5.8 per cent of the world’s incoming tourists and 3.5 per cent of global revenue in the sector. As such, the sector still has vast untapped potential and that if exploited, could kick-start rapid economic growth.”