By ZBC Reporter
THE unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the travel and tourism sector has seen renewed calls for stakeholders to harness intra-Africa tourism as part of the recovery and growth strategies.
The most visited destinations across Africa such as the famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the legendary and breath-taking Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the Table Mountain in South Africa have been left empty as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the tourism sector.
As the continent formulates post-COVID-19 recovery strategies, stakeholders have been urged to look within and harness intra-Africa tourism in the context of the recently launched Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Tourism Industry Pension Fund board member, Mr Ephias Mambume is convinced that promoting intra-Africa travel remains critical in the recovery of the battered-industry.
“The post-covid-19 period presents us with an opportunity to develop new strategies to promote tourism on the continent, one of which is tried and tap into intra-Africa tourism. One of the biggest lessons from the devastating pandemic is that we cannot continue to rely on traditional sources market rather we have to utilise opportunities within the continent,” he said.
Under the AfCFTA the continent is planning to bring together 1.3 billion people in Africa’s 3.4 trillion United States dollar economy and the proposed Africa passport is being viewed as an important step in boosting intra-Africa tourism.
As part of proposals to ensure that Africans explore their own backyard, the continent has been urged come up with strategies to bring down flight costs, improve transport infrastructure and develop marketing campaigns which can best sell Africa to Africans.