Tourism is a dynamic industry that grows everyday. Every year, new revenue sources are discovered by nations, and this includes exploration of newer forms of tourism.
One of the old, yet recently discovered forms of tourism is birth tourism.
Birth tourism is a form of tourism that involves a pregnant woman travelling to another country, usually a more advanced country in terms of technology and innovations for the purpose of giving birth.
Traditionally, giving birth in Africa used to be a private thing, sometimes done in homes or amongst family and friends with whom the expecting mother is familiar. Today, the story is different.
This type of tourism sells more in Africa because there are many third world countries on the continent, where basic amenities, even for those with the means, are not available.
In the past, the main reason was to gain access to better medical care, but today, the reason for birth tourism is to obtain citizenship for the child in a country with birthright citizenship.
While many nations have observed that birth tourism is sometimes simply a ploy to gain access to many subsidised amenities available without having to contribute much to the funding of these systems and programs in the destination countries, it is a form of tourism that Africans have embraced.
Research has shown that there are core reasons why various nationals including Africans embrace birth tourism and will continue to do so even though citizenship laws have become stricter, and no European country presently grants unconditional birthright citizenship.
However, countries like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil grant unconditional birthright citizenship and allow dual citizenship.This video shows why citizenship by birth is allowed in the US.
Some Women travel all over the world to give birth, some even going to places like India and Russia, all for diverse reasons. Some of the reasons for birth tourism include access to public schooling, healthcare, and sponsorship for the parents in the future.
Birth tourism is a major financial commitment as it costs between $25,000 and $60,000. Antenatal service in Maryland, USA for example, could cost as high as $3,500 depending on one’s country of origin. Compared to the cost of the same service in an average hospital in Africa, it’s almost 300 per cent higher.
These women brave the odds of a risky flight during pregnancy for the chance of access to the privileges that the destination country’s passport confers on the holders.
The downside to this form of tourism for the destination countries is that it gives anyone the means to clog up the resources and systems that would be better distributed among original citizens of the nation.
The effect on Africa however is much more disastrous. Beyond the brain-drain that becomes imminent with the exodus of people to other countries, there is no improvement in the systems available in African countries because anyone who requires better facilities would simply leave the continent to access it.
This equally means an exodus of the limited resources in Africa, because tourism, in most cases, is only profitable for the recipient country. Africa requires more revenue to grow its economy, and the amount of revenue made in Africa and exported through birth tourism can’t be ignored.