Hotel and hospitality industry stakeholders in Africa who are meeting in Tanzania said the African continent remains the world’s most attractive investment area in tourism despite the low figures of tourist inflow from key global travel markets.
They said Africa remains the leading continent in the world and that it is endowed with diversified natural resources, attractive geographical features, and rich history and cultures – all of which attract international tourists to visit this continent.
During their first day at the Fourth Annual Africa Hotel Expansion Summit and Hospitality Round Table in the Tanzanian commercial city of Dar es Salaam, hotel and hospitality industry executives noted that Africa needs to establish intra-Africa travel packages to attract tourists within the continent.
“Africa needs to encourage intra-Africa travel programs that would attract more people to travel from one country to another country within the continent,” said Amaechi Ndili, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lionstone Group and Golden Tulip West Africa Hospitality Group in Nigeria.
“We need to stimulate intra-Africa tourism and business travel while governments across the continent take serious steps and policies to create more open skies for Africans,” Ndili noted.
In the context of tourism competitiveness in Africa, most countries on the continent are still lacking competitive tools to support growth and competition in tourism at global market levels, despite the continent’s rich and untapped natural resources.
The hotel executives further noted that more than 80 percent of Africans don’t know tourist attractive sites available in their own countries compared to Europe, America, and other continents where the citizens outnumber foreign tourists.
Nigeria is the leading country in Africa to generate outbound tourists to other countries within the continent, mostly to other West African states, as well as East and Southern Africa.
Kenya was rated among top African countries looking to develop tourism by encouraging its residents to visit attractive sites within this country and book the hotels as a move to attract more hotel and accommodation investments.
Rwanda is the other African country rated with friendly and positive growth in the tourism and hospitality industry in Africa. Top-level international investors, business leaders, hotel industry experts, and travel market leaders from the world are currently focusing their eyes on Rwanda.
Kigali, the Rwandan capital, has been rated the most attractive city in Eastern Africa for the global hospitality industry. Several international conferences and gatherings have been taking place there, attracting a high level of tourists from Africa and other parts of the world.
Among the key global gatherings to be taking place in Kigali later this year is the 41st Congress of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) to be held in Kigali from November 14 to 17 and which is expected to bring delegates from Africa, the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world.
Bearing a theme of “Destination Africa: The Future of African Tourism,” the ATA’s 41st Congress is set to focus the East African region as the single tourist destination in Africa and best for a combined African safari.