Africa (Commonwealth) _ The African Development Bank has reaffirmed its commitment to Africa’s tourism industry, which is one of the continent’s fastest expanding.
Leila Mokaddem, Director General for the Southern Africa Regional Integration and Business Delivery Hub, stated at the 66th Tourism Conference organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Mauritius in July 2023 that the Bank would prioritize support for member countries to develop their tourism industry and other pathways to sustainable, climate-smart local economic development.
The Mauritius government organized the conference, which had the theme “Rethinking Tourism for Africa: Promoting Investment and Partnerships; Addressing Global Challenges.”
Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing and most integrated industries, with enormous potential to enhance GDP and investment while also promoting regional integration. According to Mokaddem, Mauritius is a success story in this regard.
The conference brought together African tourism ministers and important tourism players to discuss tourism growth in Africa. The yearly gathering provides a forum for public and private sector industry partners to exchange ideas. The conference looked at new strategies to encourage investment, collaborations, and long-term growth in the African tourist industry.
In its plan to drive Africa’s industrialisation and green growth, the Bank has highlighted tourism as a priority area. In this regard, it collaborates closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized body in charge of promoting tourism with a network of 158 member countries.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Bank and UNWTO have agreed to strengthen their cooperation and establish a working arrangement informed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, African Union Agenda 2063, and Rio+20 development goals and objectives. This is consistent with the Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy and its High 5 priorities of industrializing Africa and improving Africans’ quality of life by creating enabling conditions for good jobs for youth.
Both parties agree that collaborative efforts will strengthen the tourism industry and assist cover gaps in campaigning, policy, and analytical advice.
Tourism is a significant economic industry in many African countries. Many countries gain greatly from tourism, including Uganda, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, and Tanzania.The diversity and richness of landscapes, as well as the rich cultural legacy, are what distinguishes Africa as a tourist destination. There is also an ecotourism business in various African nations (for example, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, and so on).
African countries began investing in their tourism markets in the late 1960s as well as the early 1970s and are at various stages of growth. African countries are often classified using Butler’s 1980 Tourist Area Life Cycle (TALC) model, which is a universal model that explains six distinct stages of tourism growth for all countries worldwide: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, and stagnation.
However, a World Bank report published in 2011 categorized African countries into four performance categories. These performance groups were formed based on indicators such as the business environment, tourist regulation, infrastructure, resources, tourism income, visitor numbers, and market potential.
Ecotourism is the concept of taking responsible excursions and traveling to regions that may be protected or especially vulnerable. The goal is to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. Africa also features many historical architectural structures that have persisted over time from ancient civilizations, as well as more contemporary structures.
The Pyramids and temples of Egypt and Sudan; the Obelisk of Axum from Ethiopia; the ruins of ancient Zimbabwe’s trading center, Great Zimbabwe; and the Palace of Emperor Fasilides in Ethiopia are all old historical sites. More new monuments that attract visitors are Ghana’s old slave castles, Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle, which are both designated as heritage sites.