Sharing perspectives on the economic impact of COVID-19 on Africa, key leaders in tourism and the African economy want the continent to unite for future economic success.
Panelists in attendance at the webinar hosted by the African Tourism Board (ATB) have expressed their views and perspectives on the best approach which African nations should focus on in order to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which is now affecting most countries on the African continent.
African Tourism Board Chairperson Mr. Cuthbert Ncube said that Africa should come together when fighting the pandemic by taking on and observing all safety measures to ensure that people from the continent remain safe.
Mr. Ncube said that Africa should take a self-reliance approach and strengthen efforts to address a development agenda to rebuild its economy and tourism. He said Africa should stand together to fight the pandemic by all available means so as to make this continent a safe destination for tourists.
“Let us join our efforts in Africa to combat this pandemic through all means required to contain its spread in our continent,” he said.
There has been negative thinking that Africa was going to suffer the most from the economic impact of COVID-19 which would then affect its economy and tourism. But there is something wrong with that sentiment as the continent is working hard to maintain its status as a safe tourist destination.
“If those who predicted the doom for Africa in this pandemic period were prophets, then they should have seen the coronavirus coming. That might make them false prophets,” said the ATB Chairperson.
Former Zimbabwe Tourism Minister Dr. Walter Mzembi said during the webinar that a lot of stories have been told about Africa, but most important was to brand the continent’s tourism and then create tourist packages for selling.
Dr. Mzembi further said that Africa ranked as an expensive destination or expensive to travel to its rich tourist resources.
“Let us cut travel costs then market Africa as the continent under a banner carrying a message of visit, trade, and invest in Africa,” Dr. Mzembi said.
The former Zimbabwean Tourism Minister added that branding of Africa should be a priority while cutting down travel costs to the continent.
Professor PLO Lumumba who was among the webinar panelists said that now is the time that Africans must move within their own continent as tourists.
Prof. Lumumba, a prominent scholar in East Africa, suggested the introduction of a single passport for Africans that will allow them to move freely from one country to another. He said that there are about 230 million Africans living outside the continent who can come back to visit their own continent of origin and stimulate the continent’s tourism growth.
Rich with land, flora and fauna, minerals, energy, marine resources, and inland waterways, Africa holds the necessary resources to provide an adequate response to the needs of its peoples.
Through its ATB HOPE Task Force, the African Tourism Board is currently organizing and hosting a series of webinar meetings that bring together the Board’s Patrons, Executives, Ambassadors, and other key personalities to discuss a way forward at this time when Africa and rest of the world are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ATB HOPE Task Force is also focused on searching for the best approach to and a path for Africa’s tourism and economic recovery during the post COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whereas we cannot control what has happened, we can control our reaction and response to it. Through a virtual platform, titled ‘Africa’s Rapid Economic Recovery Response,’ we will have an engaging conversation on what we must do in order to ensure business and economic survival but remain afloat long after the pandemic has ended,” organizers said.
The two-hour webinar that was held on Wednesday evening aired a perspective from the economic, tourism, risk management, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sectors to better understand the impact and share ideas around Africa’s Response Plan post-COVID-19.
The African Tourism Board is an association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the African region. For more information and how to join, visit africantourismboard.com