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African Tourism Is Untapped, World Bank Says

African Tourism Is Untapped, World Bank Says

Management and marketing are key to unlocking Africa’s vast potential when it comes to tourism development, according to a New World Bank report.

Africa’s natural resources and cultural offerings far exceed assets in other parts of the world but tourism on the continent will take off only when it is integrated into every part of society, World Bank reports in Tourism-Review.

Tourism growth in sub-Saharan Africa is affected by issues passed down from one regime to another, the report said. Factors like land ownership, availability and transference of land rights are key to development. Other challenges include financial resources, crime, heavy tourism investment taxes and too much bureaucracy.

Both governments and the general population have a role to play in addressing obstacles like visa regulation and land access, the report said. States and private companies can help transform the tourism corporate climate while fostering job creation, particularly for youth and women.

The first ever World Bank case study on Sub-Sahara Africa tourism examined the industry and recommended tips to release the industry’s economic growth potential so that Africa can compete with other stakeholders around the world.

It showcased how Cape Verde, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa can maximize on wildlife resources within five years and become global trend-setters. Currently, tourism contributes just 2.8 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s overall gross domestic product.

The report said countries seeking to scale up tourism should invest in marketing and promotion to enhance their overall image and attract more visitors. Governments should also try to provide special incentives to serious investors. They can expand their service portfolio by diversifying tourism offers, tactically managing growth and addressing the seasonal nature of tourism.


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Africa needs to make good use of the vast resources it has, otherwise it will continue lagging behind as others prosper with their limited opportunities, the World Bank report said. The secret to success in tourism is proper management.

The World Bank report shows sub-Saharan Africa’s numerous travel successes and advises governments to make alliances with private sector stakeholders at the regional, national and local levels. Together they have the power to plan and advance tourism infrastructure, improve transparency in ownership of land and develop business-friendly settings for all the travel and tour stakeholders. When well-managed, tourism spurs economic transformation, triggers infrastructural growth, accelerates social reform and empowers minority groups throughout Africa.