The just ended Africa Travel Indaba held in Durban, South Africa has brought about conversations on promoting intra-African tourism, this as the entire continent is still on the verge of recovery from the reeling effects of Covid 19.
When officiating the ceremony, South Africa’s tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Africa is a unique blend of culture, heritage, nature-based, rural and urban experiences that make Africa a rich and diverse, all-year destination, with a unique history of courage, resilience and historic sites.
“We are here because we have a collective responsibility to reignite the African continent’s tourism growth and economy. As a sector, we are here to cement our partnerships and collaborations. It can only be to our benefit that we are a sector committed to sharing ideas and knowledge, in a bid to ensure that we advance our tourism sector recovery plan,” she added.
In an interview, Malawi Department of Tourism Deputy Director Sosten Lingwalanya said African countries should work together in order to help recover the tourism sector in the industry.
His sentiments were shared by Acting Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Givemore Chidzidzi who said Botswana and Zimbabwe should also consider creating packages that are aligned as tourists often visit more than one country when they come to Africa. He added that Zimbabwe has a lot of tourist attraction facilities which could go hand in hand with what Botswana has to offer.
The latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) data shows that global international tourist arrivals more than doubled in January 2022 compared to 2021 with 18 million more visitors travelling worldwide in the first month of 2022. In January 2022, Africa saw a leap in growth of 51% in 2022 over 2021.
Exhibitors at the Indaba also expressed their delight in having the show return as it has proven to be very beneficial to their organizations, with some returning for the 10th time. Meanwhile, first timer at the event Tshepiso of Tadala Travel based in Maun said she has met people who have been to Botswana, and some who are keen on visiting for the first time, which has given her confidence that the Indaba is a a great tool for boosting tourism.
The Travel Indaba was returning for the first time after a 2-year hiatus due to Covid 19 and attracted at least 18 African countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe and DRC amongst others.