African countries urged to promote tourism


African countries should work together to improve air connectivity, which would boost tourism and economic growth, South African Minister of Tourism Patricia de Lille said on Monday.

De Lille made the remarks on Monday evening during the African Tourism Ministers Dialogue in South Africa’s port city of Durban. She said Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will spend 21.7 billion rand (about 1.18 billion U.S. dollars) to develop airport infrastructure in South Africa.

“The rest of the world is poised to make travel more accessible, and essential source markets like China and India are set to increase; we must partner to make it easier to travel to and in Africa,” said de Lille. “Now is the time to rethink development strategies in the tourism sector and strengthen regional integration and cooperation. We have to encourage strategic public-private partnerships, promote investment in the tourism sector regionally, and refocus efforts to implement impactful projects.”

She urged African tourism ministers to find concrete solutions to create opportunities to increase air connectivity in Africa.

Africa should share best practices and improve connectivity to encourage more tourists to visit Africa by making travel easy and comfortable, de Lille said. “It is simply that we want more tourists to travel and to make it easier for tourists to travel on the African continent. It is also essential to examine how Africa can leap ahead using technological advances like digital booking platforms, biometric security systems, and sustainable aviation fuels.”

The African Tourism Ministers Dialogue was attended by African tourism ministers, members of the diplomatic community, and airliners from Asia, Africa, and Europe, who also shared their views on improving air connectivity. The meeting is part of Africa’s Travel Indaba, which started on Monday and will end on Wednesday.

According to the International Air Transport Association’s January 2024 report globally, in 2023, air traffic was at 94.1 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

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