An African Tourism Board (ATB) Task Force members and tourism experts are seeking European Union support for Africa’s tourism recovery and development post-Covid-19 pandemic.
A video conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday brought senior stakeholders together to call for support from the EU for African countries reeling from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Africa’s tourism market has all but collapsed in the wake of border closings and transportation chaos caused by the pandemic.
According to Dr. Rifai, Africa desperately 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 the ATB conference participants that African countries need financial support from the European Union whose members are the leading tourism market sources for Africa.
Dr. Peter Tarlow spoke about domestic and regional tourism development in Africa, pegging the context of Tanzania which ATB Ambassador Mary Kalikawe had forwarded for discussion. He also talked about security and Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the development of domestic and regional tourism bases in Africa. ETN quoted him saying:
“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.”
Also according to Tarlow, tourism stakeholders should carry a “Message of Tourism as a Message of Hope.” Integrated efforts, training, and security are crucial in ensuring Africa’s tourism development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The African officials expect post-COVID-19 travels tom come from families, friends, and sports events. However, the panel 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.
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.