About 300 representatives from 51 African countries participated in the Ministerial 1st Conference on Tourism and Air Transport in Africa, which ended on Friday (29) on the Island of Sal in Cape Verde. The event was organized by the government of Cape Verde with the support of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“Africa has an immense potential for tourism growth that remains intact,” said Shanzong Zhu, executive director of the World Tourism Organization, who highlighted the great growth of the tourism industry worldwide. Last year, 2.4 billion people traveled all over the world and only Africa grew by 7%.
“African countries must focus on new technologies and innovation in the civil aviation sector. Only in this way will it be possible to boost tourism”, argues Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of ICAO, which regulates the civil aviation industry worldwide.
For the director of the ICAO Air Transport Office, Boubacar Djalo, the challenges are immense in both sectors – both air travel and tourism – but the opportunities are also great. “Africa has beaches, forests, wildlife. But this also exists, for example, in Latin America or Asia. That is why we must be able, first, to attract African tourism, to enable Africans to travel on their continent, ” he says.
On the first day of the event, about 200 people participated, including technicians from the two African countries, as well as ICAO and WTO representatives, who discussed issues related to air transport and tourism in Africa. On Friday, it was the turn of tourism ministers from around 30 countries to discuss their demands.
“The countries of Africa are facing a great opportunity to take structuring measures in the civil aviation sectors as an essential pillar to boost tourism among the countries of our continent,” said the Minister of Tourism and Transport of Cape Verde, José da Silva Gonçalves. He advocated the facilitation of visas between African countries and the full accession of all countries to The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) on the continent. 27 countries have joined SAATM.
Cape Verdean President Jorge Carlos Fonseca stressed that the African continent can not continue to waste opportunities and must begin to exploit its undeniable potential in the tourism sector. However, Jorge Carlos Fonseca warned of the need to improve equipment and infrastructures since “the number of air accidents on the continent is 12 times higher than in North America or Europe.”
Cape Verde signed agreements with Angola, Congo and Portugal
Congo and Cape Verde have signed a document to open the skies of the two countries to their respective airlines and to establish a technical assistance agreement.
African countries must focus on new technologies and innovation in the civil aviation sector. Only in this way will it be possible to boost tourism
Angola and Cape Verde, on the other hand, signed an agreement in the area of tourism. According to the Cape Verdean government, it is a formalization and strengthening of the friendly relations that already existed between the two countries. The Angolan Transport Minister, Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, took the opportunity to announce the two countries will be reconnected by a TAGG flight, from the third week of April.
The Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal, Ana Gomes Godinho, announced during the event that Cape Verde will participate in the Reviver Program, which aims to rebuild the historical heritage built by Portugal in Portuguese-speaking countries. The work should boost tourism and create new jobs in the sector.