The continent is rich in culture and tourism potential. However, why are Africans so disinterested in exploring Africa?
Africa has its many delirious fans but only about forty percent of these fans come from the continent itself. For many Africans, the idea of travel or vacation involves shopping in Dubai or posing in front of the Eiffel tower in France.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Press Release for 2017, Four out of 10 international tourists in Africa originate from within the continent, rising from 34.4 percent in 2010 to 40.3 percent in 2013. In Northern Africa, 2 out of 10 international tourists come from within the continent; in sub-Saharan Africa, the figure is about 2 out of 3.
With tourism in Africa on a steady rise, these statistics don’t seem that encouraging. TINA Magazine published the tourism in Africa statistics of 2018 and countries like Morocco are recording as high as 11 million visitors.
So, why aren’t Africans interested in exploring Africa?
On September 15, Tolulope Saba asked this question on his Twitter page that had travel enthusiasts buzzing with answers. Many admitted that it is not a lack of interest, but a blend of issues associated with traveling through Africa as an African. Here are the top answers.
A high percentage of the answers said it was due to a higher cost of travel.
Lack of Infrastructure
Complicated Flight Connections
Tedious Borders and visa requirements
Too close to home
… And this funny one
What can change?
Many of these issues would be solved if more African countries paid attention to tourism, especially with other Africans in mind.
“If 12 African countries were to implement the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, Open Skies for Africa could create an extra 155,000 jobs, result in an increase of almost 5 million passengers, contribute almost $ 1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP and generate $ 1 billion in consumer benefits,” says UNCTAD. Africa needs to optimize the role of tourism as an engine and catalyst for regional integration and inclusive growth through deeper cooperation between countries and regions.
Also, more Africans should travel smart, using budget travel techniques and be more open to road travel.