Experts on visa issues drawn from member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), met in Abuja on the deployment of the regional visa otherwise known as ECOVISA.
The ECOVISA, according to the ECOWAS Commission, is billed to facilitate the seamless movement of citizens of ECOWAS member states in the region.
The commission added that the meeting which held virtually, among other issues, afforded the experts the opportunity to present and discuss additional, as well as proposed security features of the ECO document and the necessary accompanying measures for the implementation of the decision of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on the matter.
The enormous toll of COVID-19 on international tourism has now become clear, with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data showing the cost up to May was already three times that of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis. As the situation continues to evolve, the United Nations specialized agency has provided the first comprehensive insight into the impact of the pandemic, both in tourist numbers and lost revenues, ahead of the upcoming release of up-to-date information on travel restrictions worldwide.
The African Union has hinted that tourism destinations in Africa have collectively lost $55 billion in travel and tourism revenue.
This was disclosed by the African Union (AU) commissioner for infrastructure and energy, Amani Abou-Zeid, last Thursday during a news conference.
Amani explained that the aviation industry is badly hit. According to him, the ripple effect of lockdown measures adopted domestically and internationally, to combat coronavirus was a huge trigger for economic loss, as tourism generates about 10 percent of the GDP in Africa.
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.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for a 'Marshall Plan' to aid the recovery of the Travel and Tourism Sector in Africa, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the sector very hard.
''It is imperative for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to support Africa with a 'Marshall Plan' of sorts, in terms of technical assistance, capacity building and grants,''
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have jointly called for African countries to strengthen their economic integration. They made this call at the recent launch of the Africa Regional Integration Index 2019 (ARII 2019). This is the second such index to be produced, the first being ARII 2016.
As the sector faces up to an unprecedented challenge, the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (a subsidiary of the World Tourism Organization) has analysed the steps being taken by businesses and trade associations to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Studying the actions taken by Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) in 25 countries, the research revealed that, in spite of staff furloughs, employers across the sector are stepping up their support for workers and for communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 22% fall in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020, the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows. According to the United Nations specialized agency, the crisis could lead to an annual decline of between 60% and 80% when compared with 2019 figures. This places millions of livelihoods at risk and threatens to roll back progress made in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).