Visa regulations curbs tourism growth in Africa

As per report and expert opinions, sturdy visa regulations are hindering the growth of tourism sector in Africa. The experts also blame the lack of innovative ideas among the service providers as another reason for the sluggish and meagre performance across the continent.

The data statistics from Word Travel & Tourism Council reports that out of the 1.2 billion global travellers recorded in 2017, Africa had only 62 million of that. The tourists’ arrivals had lead to 8.3 million jobs last year. The number of jobs is expected to rise by 11.6 million by 2028.

Morongoe Ramphele. Deputy Director-General of South Africa Tourism urged African governments to frame visa policies in a way that very well promote the tourism of continent. “Tough visa regulations are a hindrance to growth. African countries need to open their boundaries for proper domestic tourism growth to be realised,” Ramphele said while speaking at a forum termed ‘Optimising Economic Transformations’.

At the official opening of Indaba Tourism festival held in Durban, nine African tourism ministers insisted for better regional assistance to guarantee tourism growth across the continent. The delegation led by South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom emphasized that the prospective of tourism across the 54 African countries can be boosted by integrated and sustainable tourism framework. “With global tourist arrivals predicted to reach 134 million by 2030, there is an increased need for us to address the challenges that hinder the growth of tourism. This will require that we find ways to work together to create an enabling environment that will facilitate synergy in the development of regional tourism products, and ensure the growth and sustainability of the African tourism market,” said Derek Hanekom.

“There is a lot of copying in the industry. Instead of service providers employing originality, they compete among themselves with the same kind of product hence limiting the growth of the sector. People travel for many hours to come and experience something different,” said tourism player Gain McCann during the Indaba tourism festival. South Africa had recently eased the visa policy on Kenya. With Chinese travellers finding South Africa, Madagascar and Morocco as their favourite Africans destinations, it’s time for other African nations to open their boundaries for a leap in tourism sector in the continent.