Ministers mull intra-Africa tourism to increase arrivals

May 11, 2016 4:02 am 

NAIROBI, May 10 — African countries on Monday resolved to spearhead intra-Africa tourism to promote diverse tourism potential and tap into increasing interest for travel among Africans.

African tourism ministers said ease of visa regulations, air access and joint promotions are some of the quick wins that will support the intra-Africa tourism agenda.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Acting CEO Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi who was representing the Kenya government ministerial conference in South Africa said that African market has shown resilience to challenges such as insecurity, threats of diseases and other calamities.

"Africa is our next frontier and this is the time for us as a continent to leverage on each other's strength, synergize on our varied expertise and resilience for the betterment of the sector," Nzioka told an African Tourism Ministers at the ongoing INDABA tourism fair in Durban South Africa, according to a statement issued in Nairobi.

She said Kenya was riding on prevailing peace to woo in travelers back to the country and disclosed that Kenya is targeting to increase the flow of tourists from South Africa by 20 percent at the close of the year.

Nzioka said KTB has trained over 300 tour operators on tourism products so as to enhance destination awareness among potential travelers.

The prospects of the South African market have received a boost with the national carrier, Kenya Airways which announced there will be direct flights three times a week from Nairobi to Cape Town beginning July.

"Our ease of access with a flight of less than five hours to Nairobi by KQ and South Africa Airways, products suited to segments such as family, couples and special interest groups are pulling factors for our clientele," said Nzioka.

South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom said it was time for Africa to unite and help promote intra Africa tourism.

"We must all stand and work together to promote intra Africa tourism which has immense potential of turning around fortunes of the sector in the continent," Hanekom said.

"Tourism can reshape lives, bring new hope and make dreams come true, not only for individuals and communities but for millions of people on the continent," he added.

The ministerial conference held in Durban, South Africa brought together 18 tourism ministers, heads of tourism from respective countries, the media and the travel trade.

Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange said it was time for Africa to stand together and be counted despite all the challenges that have faced the continent in the recent past.

He said Africa's rich tourism products remain world's admiration but expressed his concerns that the continent was only able to attract about 5 percent of the travelers globally. (PNA/Xinhua)

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