Some hoteliers have impressed on West African authorities to work to extend the visa on arrival policy to foreign tourists in a bid to boost the sector’s growth.
They argue that the move should also ease the barriers restraining some tourists into the continent.
The comment comes on the back of the launch of the Hospitality Africa Report which cites the East and Southern Africa as attractive destinations for tourists to Africa.
“As it stands right now, most Europeans and American tourists need visas before visiting Ghana for instance but they wouldn’t need visas to visit East or Southern Africa. As a result these regions are still attracting huge chunks of visitors from the Americas and Europe,” Sales and Marketing Manager at Accra City Hotel, Yaw Mamphey told Citi Business News.
“If the visa free policy could be worked on so as to make it non-compulsory for tourists coming from the Americas for instance, that will be great,” he added.
Currently, tourists from member states of the African Union could visit other member states and they would be issued visas upon arrival in the host countries.
The development is said to have impacted tourism positively in almost a year of its implementation.
Meanwhile, the goal of having a single African continental passport by 2020 and the adoption of visa liberalization policies, could increase Africa’s tourism by 5 to 25%.
Yaw Mamphey however stressed the need to develop local tourism sites and resources to attract such foreign tourists aside providing the conducive environment to allow them entry.
“But of course internally too we need to restructure; for instance if one goes to Kakum National Park and visits the canopy walkway, there’s virtually no hospitality facility within the environs to accommodate such tourists among others.”
In a related development, the country Manager of Jumia Travel Ghana, Omolara Adagunodo has also stressed the need for local tourism industry players to strategically position themselves for the potential boom in the sector this year.
“The region is expected to attract 64 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, as compared to 58million in 2016 (+ 8% vs 2015), and 110 million by 2027 which means we have a responsibility to adequately prepare for the challenges that comes with the increasing numbers.”
Key highlights of the hospitality report;
Tourism’s contribution to Africa’s GDP was 7.8% (USD 165.6 billion) in 2016, and is expected to rise to 7.9% of GDP to USD 170.5 billion 2017.
This contribution is predicted to grow by 4.6% per annum to reach USD 268.2bn by 2027.
In 2016, domestic travel spending generated 63.7% of Africa’s Tourism GDP, and is expected to rise by 2.8% in 2017 to USD 73 billion, and then by 3.6% per annum to USD 104 billion in 2027.
On the other hand, foreign visitor spending stood at 36.3% in 2016 (USD 40.7 billion), and is expected to grow by 5.3% in 2017 to USD 42.9 billion, and then by 5.9% per annum to USD 76 billion in 2027.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana