African Universal Front for Tourism

It is almost impossible to underestimate the potentials of the African continent, it has continually established itself as a promising region not only economically but also in terms of tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization, it is predicted that Africa will receive 85 million international tourist arrivals by 2020 and 134 million in 2030, representing 6.3% and 7.4%, respectively, of international tourist arrivals worldwide.

Though these figures are impressive, they are likely to remain as far-off predictions if the African leaders are reluctant to push the continent forward. Boosting and sustaining the growth of tourism requires that all hands be put on deck. The time has come for Africa to work with Africa, for Africa.

E-commerce in Africa has impacted upon Africa to a large extent, small and medium hotels have been pushed to the fore through platforms such as across the African continent. This attracts the thrill-seekers to the length and breadth of Africa through confidence-building and secure accommodation on arrival.

The move for a united front to boost tourism in Africa can be seen in the proposal of the Univisa. Although its issuance is prone to administrative problems, it has been regarded to as a success. Zimbabwe and Zambia launched a Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Univisa to help tourists visit both countries without having to apply for two separate visas. From this example, the univisa is preferable on the bilateral scale for international tourists between two cooperating countries.

Similar to the ECOWAS passport for West Africans which allows free movement within the region, the possibility of a univisa for the whole of Africa is laden with a lot of mixed feelings. Although it means reduced costs for the tourists, it also means increased vulnerability for the continent unless trust is established between neighbouring countries.

Indeed Africa needs to boost its attractiveness in terms of tourism and travel however is the univisa a step in the right direction or would it only increase Africa’s vulnerability? Is boosting e-tourism a better way to go than this universal visa?

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