In response to the current quagmire of challenges facing the Tourism Industry in Africa caused by the Covid19 pandemic, Tourism Business Success (TBS) Int’l on April 16th, 2020 launched a series of ‘Aviation, Tourism & Hospitality Post-Covid19 Recovery Webinars’ where we’ve been talking to series of industry experts on Post-covid19 aviation, tourism and hospitality industry recovery plans for Nigeria and Africa in general.
Consequently, the 7th edition of this webinar tagged “AFRICA Day Aviation, Tourism & Hospitality Post-Covid19 Recovery Webinar – Focus on African Governments, SAATM & Visa Policies” was planned to commemorate Africa Day and held this week, Thursday, May 29, 2020.
This Africa Day Webinar was aimed and actually did bring together travel agencies, tour operators, tourism boards, DMCs, DMOs, as well as aviation, airlines, travel, tourism and hospitality professionals and stakeholders all across Africa to discuss the role of collaboration, communication and coordination among African Governments in lifting travel restrictions, relaxing visa policies, implementing SAATM and championing the recovery process for Africa Tourism Post-Covid19.
Didier Bayeye, Africa Tourism Expert and Chief Moderator for the TBS Webinar emphasized at the beginning of the call that the aim of the webinar is not to repeat and whine over the challenges facing tourism in Africa but rather, to discuss practical solutions and strategies to reposition and capitalize on the unlimited benefits of tourism for Africa post-covi19.
If In his remarks, Mohammed Hersi, President, Kenya Tourism Board, reiterated that, Africa needs to decide and commit to visit and explore Africa. “We need to make it easy for Africans to visit Africa in removing travel restrictions, and implementing the Yamoussoukro treaty which was signed in 1999 and ratified in 2018, so that we have better air connectivity within Africa. If only five (5) per cent of the population of Africa decides that to travel within Africa, we will see the numbers go up drastically”, he said.
The webinar had all of Africa on the panel converged, with Mr Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Mauritius, representing the African Islands; Mr Mohamed Hersi, President, Kenya Tourism Federation, Kenya, representing East Africa; Mr Folorunsho Coker, DG, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and Dr Ageiyman, CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority, GTA, Ghana, both representing West Africa, while, Mr Sam Mayaka, Special Adviser to the Minister of Tourism, stood in for Honorable Minister of Tourism, Mr Yves Bankulu Zola, of Democratic Republic, Congo, representing Central Africa, and also, Mr Septi Bukula, Director of Tourism SME South Africa stood in for Mr Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South Africa Tourism, representing Southern Africa.
In his own remarks, Mr Septi Bukula lamented that even before Covid19, domestic tourism was declining in Africa, and largely because South Africa tourism is built mainly on International tourism. “I think covid19 is a wake-up or clarion call for the local industry players in South Africa to activate domestic tourism. We have a massive and significant internal market that we need to come up with strategies to activate”, he said. He continued to opine that the very developed retail shopping sector in South Africa need to be awakened to the tourism opportunities for shopping trips to South Africa to boost domestic tourism.
On the flip side, Mr Arvind Bundhun, it will be difficult for Mauritius to focus on domestic tourism owing to the size of the small island nation, however, he believes that Africa needs to become more accessible to capitalize on its tourism. The day Africa becomes accessible, the world will hold no secrets, we will become globally competitive, and I believe within Africa, we can develop this strategy.
On the salient issue of restriction and cumbersome visa policies, majority of the panel believes every African country should become Visa Free for all Africans, while according to the Mr Folorunsho Coker of Nigeria, he is opined against the visa-free policy, but would rather favour Visa on Arrivals, just as the case is currently for Nigeria. Most importantly, all panel members believe their respective countries, as well as Africa, is ready to re-open for tourism.
The webinar ended after 2 hours and 26 minutes of intense deliberations coupled with very insightful questions from participants which spanned both the Zoom Webinar and YouTube, as the webinar was streamed live on the TBS International YouTube Channel).
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Notes for editors:
• Tourism Business Success (TBS) International is a travel, tourism and hospitality training, coaching and consulting firm serving a large clientele of travel agencies, tour operators, DMOs and hospitality businesses in Nigeria and West Africa, and recognized by NANTA, as well as NATOP in Nigeria and the International Society of Travel & Tourism Educators, ISTTE, USA.
• TBS Africa is the sole initiator of the Aviation, Tourism & Hospitality Forum – Africa, an industry initiative which launched in 2018, whose mission is aimed at bridging the divide and uniting Africa’s aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors for the economic transformation of the African continent
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