Tourism Minister, Honourable Patricia De Lille

 ‘Africa has a lot to learn about tourism’ – SA Tourism Minister

David Mawuli

The Minister of Tourism of South Africa is all in on a ‘single travel market’ for the African continent – a motion she insists would help Africa develop faster and open the world to the continent’s enormous destinations.

Patricia de Lille in an interview with David Mawuli, editor of MawuliTravels.com and Ghanafuo.com, said African Tourism Ministers should unite and use forums like Africa’s Travel Indaba to learn from each other.

She said for Africa to succeed in the tourism industry globally, the continent needs to improve intra-Africa travel, that way, it will be easier for African travelers to inter-connect within the continent.

“The Eastern part of Africa is doing better than South Africa – I’m referring to Tanzania. We have to learn,” she told David Mawuli.

“It is forums like this [Africa’s Travel Indaba] where we get together as African Tourism Ministers where we can share experience and learn from each other.”

She continued: “First of all, Africa is a lot more destinations. You need to actively go out there and lobby airlines to fly to your country and also improve inter-Africa travel. That is the most difficult part. It is easier to connect Africa to the world but it’s very difficult to inter-connect within the continent.”

The Minister referred to the African Union’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) agreement that aims to transform intra-African air travel, lower prices and increase connectivity, as a strong tool Africa can use to make travel easy and accessible within the continent.

“In 2010, the African Union decided to have a single travel market for the continent. It was finally launched in 2018 in Rwanda, and some agreements were signed and currently, only 15 have rectified this agreement.  So, it’s only 15 countries that are trying to get together.”

She highlighted territorial issues and bilateral agreements as some of the challenges that aren’t making SAATM come to fruition.

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 sees 7 per cent delegates participation as compared to 2023
Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 sees 7 per cent delegates participation as compared to 2023

“There’s a lot of territorial issues –  in some instances, we’ve got a bilateral agreement with a specific African country. But African countries prefer to stay with the bilateral agreement rather than the bigger picture where you could look at the continent as a whole. So we’ve got a lot to learn,” she advised.

This year, Africa’s Travel Indaba generated over R500m to the City of Durban’s economy. According to initial indications, this year’s event hosted 9280 registered delegates marking an incredible 7% increase when compared to 2023.

No less than 24,000 meetings were held between exhibitors and buyers.  The event also featured over 1200 exhibitors who displayed an impressive array of African tourism products and experiences.

The economic activities triggered by Africa’s Travel Indaba, from event infrastructure to accommodation establishments, restaurants, and shuttle services, have been far above our initial conservative projections, according to Winile Mntungwa, Deputy Head of  Durban Tourism.

The direct economic impact on the city was R226 million, with a spillover effect contributing an additional R333 million. The overall contribution to the city’s GDP exceeded R500 million, indicating significant economic benefits and over 1,000 jobs created, especially for the youth.

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David Mawuli is a Ghanaian journalist and, travel and food content creator. He kicked off his career as an entertainment reporter and spent 7 years with Pulse.com.gh where he cut his teeth in journalism. David has been nominated for several awards in Ghana but has won two so far. He is currently ranked the 6th top blogger in Ghana. He currently runs MawuliTravels.com alone and is also the Lead Editor at Ghanafuo.com.
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