NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The African Union is seeking support for the
entry of low cost air carriers in order to spur intra-Africa
travel, officials said on Tuesday.
Amani Abou Zeid,
African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and
Tourism, told journalists in Nairobi that the cost of air travel
within the continent remains high partly due to lack of a
liberalized air transport sector.
“We are therefore
proposing a Continental Tourism Strategy that seeks to promote
liberalization of air sector in Africa. One of the consequences
of the open air skies in Africa is that it will allow dynamic,
private and agile low cost carriers to operate in Africa with a
view to promote intra-Africa travel,” Zeid said during the First
Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Tourism of the Specialized
Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Inter
regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism.
Zeid said the
Continental Tourism Strategy should be signed by the African
Heads of State in mid 2019 and thereafter AU member states will
domesticate the policy.
She added that a
competitive aviation sector will help to boost the tourism
sector in the continent.
She noted that
currently about 80 percent of all air traffic over Africa is by
She observed that
the AU has made various strides to improve the tourism sector
including the promotion of the single Africa air transport
market and the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to
promote duty free flow of goods and services.
The AU official said
the continent is keen to make the aviation sector dynamic by
opening up it up for competition.
Najib Balala, the
Cabinet Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife,
said Africa’s aviation sector is performing below its potential
due to a number of bottlenecks.
Balala called for
further relaxation of immigration laws across the continent to
allow for African nationals to travel in the region without the
requirement of visas.
He said most African
states have adopted protective trade policies in respect of air
travel in order to protect their national air carriers.
“We can borrow the
example of Europe where low cost carriers complement the role of
national carriers in transporting passengers.” he added.
UNECA working in collaboration to boost Africa’s tourism
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The African Union (AU) said in a statement on
Tuesday that it is working in collaboration with the UN Economic
Commission for Africa (UNECA) towards boosting the tourism
sector on the African continent.
institution in collaboration with UNECA has initiated the
elaboration of the continental tourism policy strategy including
a proposal for establishment of a continental tourism body,
according to Cheikh Bedda, the AU Director for Infrastructure
The AU officials was
speaking on Monday during the opening of a three-day tourism
meeting in Kenya’s Nairobi, deliberating on the key challenges
facing Africa’s tourism towards developing appropriate
strategies that are well-aligned to the AU 50-year development
plan, dubbed agenda 2063.
Africa’s tourism is
seriously affected by poor transport networks, inadequate
infrastructure, and prevalence of visa restrictions between
African countries, the director has reiterated.
In 2017, Africa
received 62 million international tourists, showing an increase
of 8 percent from 2016.
The UN World Tourism
Organization (WTO) forecasts that international tourist arrivals
in Africa will grow by between 9 and 10 percent by the end of
“This is good for
Africa, but is only achievable if we work together as a united
continent,” said Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Environment, Tourism
and Hospitality Industry, Munseseishe Munodawafa.
eyes Chinese, U.S. tourists to boost 2018 international
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya is looking at Chinese and U.S. tourists in
order to boost international arrivals in 2018, a senior
government official said on Tuesday.
cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, told a media
briefing in the capital of Nairobi that the country received
about 1.4 million visitors in 2017.
“We are projecting
that increased international arrivals from China and the United
States will push total tourist arrivals in 2018 to between 1.7
million and 1.8 million,” Balala said.
The introduction of
direct flights between New York and Nairobi in October will
boost American tourist arrivals into Kenya, Balala said.
He said Kenya has
intensified marketing campaigns in China to attract more Chinese
tourists, with a goal of more than 100,000 Chinese arrivals a
year in the next two years. Last year, about 70,000 Chinese
tourists visited Kenya.
China represents a
key emerging tourism source market for Kenya that has largely
been untapped, Balala said.
“We want Sino-Kenya
people-to-people exchanges to reach the level of bilateral
cooperation in commerce and investments,” he added.
The official said
the completion of the Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)
that links Nairobi to Mombasa has already had a huge impact on
both domestic and foreign tourists.
Once the SGR is
extended to western towns of Kisumu and Malaba on the
Kenya-Uganda border, it will further boost the tourism sector,
The government is
also keen to prioritize the expansion of domestic tourism
because it can help to cushion the sector from volatility of
international tourist arrivals, Balala said.
“We want to open up
domestic tourism to the western and northern region of the
country which has a rich cultural heritage that is unexploited,”
Balala said, noting that most of the domestic tourism is now
concentrated in the coastal region.