Globally more than a billion people are travelling annually, with world international tourist arrivals growing by four percent on average. Africa has increased its percentage of intentional tourists by eight percent, reaching 58 million arrivals. While this is at twice the rate of the global average, it still only represents five percent of the one billion global tourists.
The president notes that while this is encouraging, as more and more world travellers are discovering our continent. “It means they see its value as an exceptional destination for holidays and business events and it indicates the immense potential for the further growth in the continent’s tourism sector.”
To achieve this, he says we need to work together as Africans with our global partners. “Then we can open our beautiful continent to further growth in tourism. We are determined to move Africa forward in this business.”
Already a lot is being done by regional economic blocs on the continent to promote regional integration which has positive spin-offs for the economy including tourism, he adds. “At the African Union level, Africa is investing in infrastructure development projects that will help us to promote economic development, including tourism development.”
One of the key goals is to work towards a seamless travel experience across the continent. “I have the privilege of chairing the African Union’s Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Initiative as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and one of our key projects is to develop road and rail connectivity within the continent to make it easier to travel around Africa.”
He also states that the continent needs more aviation connectivity. “Ultimately, one does not need to fly to Europe first before reaching a North African destination from South Africa.”