The EAC held its first Regional Tourism Expo in Arusha between October 9 and 16. The event will now be annual, every July 15.
The chair of the African Tourism Board Cuthbert Neube spoke to Apolinari Tairo on the state of African tourism.
What is the African Tourism Board (ATB) doing to help tourism in sub-Saharan Africa reach the levels of South Africa and North Africa?
We have partnered with several African countries to organise tourism exhibitions targeting domestic and regional tourism. We have last year (2020), such an exhibition in Tanzania, the UWANDAE Expo.
A team of ATB representatives from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Ethiopia and Egypt have participated the EARTE in Arusha.
African Tourism Board is currently working with International Tourism Investment Conference (ITIC) for a continental investment drive in promoting tourism development in Africa.
Through ITIC, investors from Bulgaria in partnerships with other investors, are going to establish the $72 million investment in four hotels project in Northern Tanzania, within Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro wildlife parks.
Tanzania is the first beneficial of ITIC investments that will take over from January next year (2022).
The board is also working with the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and had set up a strategy would promote our African cultures.
How is this board helping to improve this?
African Tourism Board is also giving smaller destinations and stakeholders a directly cost-effective and efficient way to reach out to trade, media and travellers in potential tourist markets for Africa. The aim is to achieve local tourism capacity, domestic and intra-African tourism base to minimise dependence of European and American tourists.
The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic had taught a lesson that Africa should be self-dependent in tourism. Lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed in Europe, United States, Asia and other potential tourist markets had greatly affected African tourism Africa receives about 62 million tourists out of over a billion global tourists recorded each year.
Europe receives nearly 600 million global tourists.
ATB is now pushing for regional tourism blocs.
It is a right step towards the objectivity of the African agenda to see EAC as bloc joining hands in an inclusive and well-coordinated approach.