Travel and tourism prior to Covid-19 had become one of the most important sectors in the world economy, accounting for 10 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product. The African Union estimated that Africa lost nearly 55 billion US dollars in tourism revenues. In South Africa's tourism industry, recovery is driven by digital technology and diversifying the market.
_"We are encouraging them to come to South Africa. We are saying it is the best place you can be in. We have the best wines, hotels.If you want to get over the stress of lockdown, think of coming to South Africa."_encouraged Lindiwe Sisulu, the South African Minister of Tourism.
Some of the major constraints to the growth of african tourism ranges from high taxes on tourism investments, crime and visa bureacracy. Industry leaders believe easing these obstacles will attract more capital to African tourism.
"We do have challenges. It's hard to pick a region because we are working more together as a continent. Africa trade is huge but to be honest, slot of the African countries have red tape and visa issues." said Carol Weaving, Director of Reed Exhibitition Africa
One of Africa's most lucrative tourism nodes is Durban located in the coast of South Africa. Durban has earned its position as one of South Africa’s most popular year‑round tourist destination due to its warm ocean, sunny climates and rich diverse cultural heritage. However, it has not always been uphill for Durban's tourism business.
_"As a city we have been very response to saying businesses must get a rebate so that they are able to have cashflow and considering that they were converted to business rates to residential rates which has a much lower margin. Secondly, the city increase d the funding for our community organizations which are our regional stakeholders. We increased it by 100%. "_said Winile Mntungwa, Durban's deputy director of tourism.
A solution put forward by the African tourism industry is that the continent's priority should be addressing poor connectivity within regions through private sector partnerships. Wandiswa Ntengento. Cape Town South Africa. Africanews
A report by Wandiswa Ntengento, Africanews correspondent in Cape Town, South Africa.