This Content Is Only For Subscribers
DURBAN – African ministers of Tourism attending the Africa’s Tourism Indaba have agreed to harmonise visa regimes in their countries for the smooth movements of people, goods and services in the continent.
South African Tourism minister, Patricia De Lille, who is barely two months in office said during the official opening of the Africa’s travels premium exposition in Durban this week that the ministers attending the event had ment and agreed that the issue of visas was amongst the top most hindrances of travel. She also said the issue of air access in Africa also remains a major challenge to travel.
Africa’s Travel Indaba, held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre exists to provide the ideal platform for African tourism exhibitors to showcase their offerings to international and local buyers, destination marketing companies and leisure tourism services partners.
It is the most formidable platform on the continent for you to meet face-to-face with the most influential buyers in the world, and to gain access to Africa’s excellence and its endless possibilities. These are the business opportunities and quality connections that will shape Africa’s tomorrow
Africa’s Travel Indaba is an iconic African leisure trade show, owned by South African Tourism, with the specific objective of creating market access for vast array of African leisure tourism Products and was being held under the theme Limitless Africa.
The three-day trade show was preceded by a dedicated Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) which sought to create a platform for thought-leadership, knowledge sharing and obtaining the latest in global trends and local insights.
Minister De -Lille highlighted that while the continent offers unrivalled diversity its cultural diversity and wildlife, a lot still stood in the way for growth and recovery of the industry to pre Covid- 19 figures and beyond.
Among the bottlenecks was the issue of visas, which restricts travel in the different African states, which calls for cooperation amongst countries to overcome. She said this has to be first preceded by a collaboration in travel, and positive competition.
“Over the years, they sighed Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s), with some commitments made and these have not been implemented. I have raised the issue with the ministers to look at these documents, they need to review them,” she said.
De Lille further added that there is a general consensus among the ministers that there is need to view the bilateral relationships.
She is also of the view that promoting the different destinations in silos was working against the growth of the industry in Africa. She said this calls for a collaborative effort for the promotion of brand Africa as a collective. This she said would allow for the travel world to see Brand Africa as one product.
“We also need to improve on the inter trade travel amongst ourselves first before we look outside.”
Taking advantage of the Africa Free Trade Agreement would facilitate the growth of travel in the continent and also remove most deterrents, through the promotion of a universal visa and ensuring the online visa application systems were in place.
“The difference between this Indaba is that it’s no longer just talk, but implementation. So, when we come back next year we will report back on these issues,” she said.