Although the vision to unify Africa has been heard for long; the continent remained highly disconnected hampering travel and other economic unities that might support the continent development initiatives. Still, the continent citizens do not find it easy to travel within the continent due to price and time taking travel requirements.
Tourism, being one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic sectors of Africa’s economy, deserves attention from the policy makers and business engaged in the industry to untie the barriers that are dragging Africa behind. The sector remained resilient even with challenges, including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa during 2014, the sector proved a huge potential to create jobs, increase economic growth across the continent and reduce poverty. The biggest travel challenge of the continent is longitude visa facilitation process and the high price that is not affordable by the majority of the society. This has been the biggest setback holding Africans from traveling within the continent.
Although visa facilitation and regional cooperation by the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Visa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as KAZA Visa between Zambia and Zimbabwe has reduced the visa requirement burden for the continent; still there is a long way to go as most countries are not a member to this agreement’s remaining within the travel barrier spectrum. However, the future seems bright with the single visa initiative to encourage free intra-African trade and movement of people.
To travel within Africa, Africans need visas to enter 55% of states on the continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB) report says. On the other hand, only 20% of African countries allow Africans to enter without visas while 25% of the countries offer visas on arrival. Seychelles is the only country on the continent to offer open access to all Africans. Countries in East Africa and West Africa also perform better covering 75% of the top 20 most open countries spectrum.
The encouraging developments have been a highlight for Africa. Nevertheless, the continent still faces a number of impediments to its development. One of the key constraints that limit the effectiveness of the tourism industry is high price tags on transport and accommodation infrastructure and services that are transferred to the customers. Even with the travel inaccessibility and high price challenge to African citizens; Africa remains one of the fastest-growing customer bases for the travel and tourism sector in the world industry researchers affirm.
The key to unlocking Africa’s tourism is to adjust high pricing and developing infrastructure. Once this is achieved, the continent will boost travelers not only outside of the continent but also from the continent itself. To support the continent ease the travel barriers Jumia Travel introduced a 50% discount at its democratizing travel campaign to encourage within the continent and beyond travel. This is aimed at to bring fastest travel growth among African countries.
It is through free movement of people and ease of access that tourism will thrive said Estelle Verdier Managing Director of Jumia Travel in East Africa. The travel and tourism industry is a lucrative industry directly generating 105.4 million jobs, equating to 3.6% of the world’s total employment according to AfDB. Out of this total African tourism generates 8.7 million jobs. When taking account of jobs supporting the travel and tourism industry, including indirect and induced, the number rises to 276.8 million jobs, equating to 9.4% of the world’s total employment. Africa’s tourism creates 20.5 million jobs, 7.1% of total employment on the continent Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco, and South Africa have the highest numbers of direct and indirect tourism employment AfDB sector report shows.