African Tourism Board reaching out to the European Union
Post-COVID-19 tourism recovery
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African Tourism Board (ATB) Task Force members and tourism experts aired their views, seeking the European Union to support Africa with tourism recovery and development plans in the post-Covid-19 pandemic timeframe.
In their virtual (webinar) meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday evening, May 19, 2020, ATB senior executives, members, and tourism experts called for support from the EU for African countries with tourism recovery and development stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic that has mostly stamped out tourism on the continent.
ATB Patron and conference moderator, Dr. Taleb Rifai, along with Patron, Alaine St.Ange, called for EU support for Africa on the post-COVID-19 road to tourism recovery.
Dr. Rifai said that Africa needs financial back-up and other support from the EU for tourism recovery as well as development programs amid and after the COVID-19 pandemic. He told conference participants that African countries need financial support from the European Union whose members are the leading tourism market sources for Africa.
Panelists and participants of the conference discussed pertinent issues targeting Africa’s tourism development, ranging from safety and security to health and education.
Dr. Peter Tarlow spoke about domestic and regional tourism development in Africa, pegging a context of Tanzania which ATB Ambassador Mary Kalikawe had forwarded for discussion.
Peter also spoke about security and Public Private Partnership (PPP) in development of domestic and regional tourism bases in Africa.
“People should visit and enjoy their own tourism. Africans should strive to visit their own continent before opting to travel outside the continent which is very expensive,” Peter said.
He said that tourism stakeholders should carry a “Message of Tourism as a Message of Hope.” Integrated efforts, training, and security are crucial on ensuring Africa’s tourism development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initial post-COVID-19 travels are expected in such areas as families, friends, and sports, Peter added during his webinar conference discussion.
Participants also discussed the need to bring Africa’s rich history onto the tourism docket with support from UNESCO, which can also support tourism recovery in African national parks and islands under a resilience project.
Key issues discussed, among others, included a need to develop “Tourism Resilience Zones” in Africa, pegging at tourist attractions and products available in each zone.
Egypt and Jordan were cited as good examples of single tourist zones in the Mediterranean, taking into account their ancient civilizations which are tourist draws in both of these countries of North Africa and the Middle East.
The Vanilla Islands in the Indian Ocean were also suggested as being included on a list of COVID-19 Free Zones to attract tourists for the time being.
ATB Senior Member, Dr. Walter Mzembi, said that Africa’s source markets should recover first so as to open doors for Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery.
A good number of issues were brought before the panel for discussion during the exciting 90-minute webinar conference which attracted ATB Ambassadors in Africa as well as outside the continent to take part in the event.
Several projects aimed to develop tourism in Africa were discussed with feedback provided from ATB supervisors and executives.
The African Tourism Board is an association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the African region. For more information and how to join, visit africantourismboard.com .