Delegates from across the African continent are calling for a reform of the African cooperation model. The guests were speaking at the African Tourism Investment Summit, which was held on Tuesday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Authorities say the removal of travel restrictions is the basis for economic growth and job creation.
The tourism sector was the hardest hit by the COVID-19 over the last two years due to the lockdown and travel restrictions. According to Stats SA, the direct contribution of the tourism sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was R130,1 billion in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP.
In 2018, the tourism sector contributed about 4,5% of total employment in South Africa. Those figures were slashed severely in the past two years and the sector is now looking to recover.
“The strong theme that has emerged is the need for air connectivity. So, we are investing heavily in air connectivity, making sure that our countries and our cities are open to tourists. We have invested heavily in ensuring that our airport is open and we now have strong links with the region,” says Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
‘Come and invest in Africa’
African Tourism Investment Summit Organiser, Carol Weaving says the aim of the summit is to create an environment in which people can come and invest in Africa.
“Our aim is to have a platform, we have 20 African countries participating this time and we even have Sierra Leone for the first time. We have 12 international countries with Korea being its first time in the country. We have over 500 buyers and over 4 000 travel professionals,” says African Tourism Investment Summit Organiser, Carol Weaving.
Delegates say they will continue to lobby to have an interconnected Africa in a bid to create more jobs and wealth for people on the continent.