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African States Urged to Boost Tourism Investment for Socio-Economic Growth

The recent global tourism meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, emphasized the need for African governments to increase their investments in the tourism sector. 

The goal is to harness the full potential of tourism as a driver of socio-economic development in the region.

While tourism in Africa has shown steady growth, its full potential has not been realized. This is due to several challenges in the sector, with a predominant focus on wildlife-based tourism, neglecting other tourism segments.

During the opening ceremony of the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania highlighted the importance of regional collaboration in tourism.

President Kagame emphasized the interconnectedness of African nations in the tourism sector, pointing out that tourists visiting one African country often extend their journeys to neighboring countries. This highlights the potential for Africa as a unified tourism destination.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan shared insights on the vital role of tourism in African economies. In Tanzania, the tourism sector contributes significantly to the country’s GDP and export earnings. 

She emphasized the potential of tourism for economic growth and job creation across the continent.

Industry experts suggest that to succeed as a prominent tourism hub, East Africa should target 80 percent of tourists originating from within the region itself. 

This ambitious target requires a reevaluation of existing tourism development strategies, including a focus on urban areas and cities as key tourism destinations.

Challenges in the region’s tourism potential include a shortage of qualified professionals, high air travel costs, limited accessibility, and inadequate tourism statistics. 

To address these challenges and leverage the emerging African market, experts recommend nurturing domestic tourism.

The East African Community Tourism Marketing Strategy for 2021-2025 aims to foster inclusive and sustainable tourism within the East African Community region, focusing on attracting over 11 million intra-regional tourists by 2025. 

This strategy, if effectively executed, could unlock the vast potential of Africa’s tourism sector.

According to WTTC, Africa’s youth population and the sector’s growth potential could contribute significantly to job creation and economic growth. 

By 2033, travel and tourism are expected to contribute substantially to Africa’s economy and job market, making it a vital sector for the continent’s development.

In summary, African leaders and experts are pushing for increased investment in the tourism sector to drive economic growth, create jobs, and unlock the vast potential of Africa’s tourism industry, making it a key driver of socio-economic development.

This story has been adopted from The Herald-Zimbabwe.

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