Member States from across Africa have shared their priorities for tourism against the backdrop of COVID-19. As with every other global region, African destinations have been hit hard by the restrictions on travel introduced in response to the pandemic. The sudden and unexpected drop in tourist arrivals has placed many millions of jobs at risk and threatened to roll back the progress made in sustainable development.
Some of the most important global sea lanes pass the continent of Africa. Major routes navigate the Cape of Good Hope between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, through the Red Sea and east-west through the Mediterranean Sea. Although Africa’s own maritime transport sector remains relatively undeveloped, more than 90 percent of all imports and exports in Africa are facilitated by sea through ports along the coast. Africa is also home to one of the world’s largest shipping registries. The Liberian Registry covers 11 percent of the world’s oceangoing fleet.
Recently, the Ugandan President Mr. Kaguta Museveni accused the tourism ministry of failing to attract more tourist in the country. In 2017, about 1.3 tourists visited Uganda bringing in 1.4 billion dollars in revenue. The Ugandan President was quoted as saying:
"A country like Spain that has nothing to show be visited by 50 million people and Uganda just 2 million people and you are here congratulating yourself? Uganda Tourism Board is mediocre and I don't like that type of mediocrity. Uganda has great potential in tourism...other countries have nothing to show but they manage to attract more tourists."
In compliance and activation of a United Nations mandate, one of her specialized agencies, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has since 2017 held several workshops, conferences, seminars and presentations, on economic tourism statistical measurement to national tourism organisations and regional tourism groups, particularly in Africa.
Following the last UNWTO/CAF event held in Abuja Nigeria, between June 4th to 6th 2018, office of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in Spain recently released this communique.
According to Mohamed Ouanaya, CEO of the redevelopment company for the port area of Tangier (SAPT) "the objective is to welcome 300,000 cruise passengers in 2020 and 750,000 in 2025".
Since June 1, 2018, the e-visa entry in Ethiopia is accessible to all nationalities and opens to business travel.
Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, on Sunday June 3rd 2018, revealed that the federal government has so far spent $9 billion on infrastructural projects in the last two years.
Against the backdrop of international tourist arrivals expanding 8% in Africa in 2017, thus outgrowing the world average increase in arrivals, tourism is gaining weight as a development opportunity for the whole continent, with its vast diversity of nature, culture and wildlife its greatest vehicle for development.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “tourism has huge potential to generate lasting development opportunities in Africa if we manage it in the right way, which is economic, social and environmental sustainability”.
The participants from 17 countries, including 14 ministers, supported a coordinated approach to seizing the continent’s potential for tourism, a sector that last year attracted more than 62 million international visitors. Issues on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa include, among others, connectivity, the image and brand of Africa, poverty alleviation, climate change, education and skills development, and financing. Delegates underscored the importance of educating other economic sectors on the broad impact of tourism for the benefit of societies and its people, and promoting tourism as a priority in national agendas.