Member States from across Africa have shared their priorities for tourism against the backdrop of COVID-19. As with every other global region, African destinations have been hit hard by the restrictions on travel introduced in response to the pandemic. The sudden and unexpected drop in tourist arrivals has placed many millions of jobs at risk and threatened to roll back the progress made in sustainable development.
Now, as UNWTO leads the restart of tourism, African Member States have set out their vision for the sector. This builds on the UNWTO Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth, the roadmap for African tourism that was adopted at the UNWTO General Assembly in 2019, and is based on the responses to a survey sent out by the Regional Department for Africa.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This feedback from our African Member States will help us guide tourism through the challenging months ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on tourism across the continent. However, UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger and better and for tourism to emerge from this crisis as an important pillar of economies, jobs and sustainability.”
Investment and innovation key priorities at continental level
At the continental level, the survey revealed that the five key areas of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa that Member States would like to see prioritized in order to better support them as they recover from the impact of COVID-19 are:
- Unlocking growth through investment promotion and public-private partnerships
- Promoting innovation and technology,
- Promoting travel facilitation, including enhanced connectivity and tourism visa policies
- Fostering resilience, including through promoting safety and security and crisis communications
- Advocating for “Brand Africa”
At the same time, the survey answers showed that Member States would like to see the part of the Agenda for Africa focusing on Fostering Resilience to be realigned to reflect the current situation. This will allow for a more effective response to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and to accelerate recovery. Alongside this, Member States across Africa also expressed a wish for UNWTO to focus future capacity building and training sessions on the topics of crisis management and communications, marketing, developing domestic tourism and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
Sub-regional priorities outlined
The survey also revealed the different priorities of Member States from different parts of Africa. In North Africa, the number one priority is expanding capacity building, including through the provision of more training; in both Western and Eastern Africa, Members named promoting better travel facilitation and unlocking tourism growth through investments and public-private partnerships as their priorities.
Meanwhile, advocating for “Brand Africa” emerged as the number one priority for Member States in Southern Africa, and in Central Africa, the focus is on strengthening tourism statistics systems. Furthermore, the survey also found that Member States from across the continent would like to see UNWTO add a new section to the Agenda for Africa focusing on the promotion of regional and domestic tourism.
Last but not least, Member States also suggested UNWTO undertake a range of actions both at the political and technical level, including strengthening collaboration between governments, facilitate the creation of investment funds to support tourism and provide practical support to SMEs. These actions would be particularly beneficial to countries whose GDP heavily depends on the tourism sector including the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Greek Travel & Tourism sector to approach full recovery this year, says WTTC
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) today reveals the Greek Travel & Tourism sector is projected to near pre-pandemic levels this year.
The sector is set to contribute €39.2 billion to the Greek economy by the end of 2023, only 4% behind the 2019 pre-pandemic high of €40.8 billion.
WTTC is also forecasting that the sector will create more than 17,000 jobs this year, reaching the 2019 peak of 820,000 employed by Travel & Tourism.
A look back on last year
Last year, the Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution grew by nearly two fifths (38.2%) to reach nearly €38 billion, representing 18.5% of the Greek economy.
The sector also created 5,000 more jobs, compared to the previous year, to reach almost 800,000 jobs nationally.
According to the report, the sector has now recovered 82%% of the jobs lost during the pandemic.
Last year also saw the return of international travellers heading to Greece, with the UK (14%), Germany (14%), and Bulgaria (10%) leading as source markets for international arrivals in Greece.
According to the data, in 2022, international visitor spend contributed €19.1 billion to the national economy, representing a year-on-year growth of more than 56%.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The Travel & Tourism sector is very important in Greece, representing more than 19% of the economy. Tourism is recovering strongly with high visitor demand. Greece is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, and the data clearly shows travellers are heading back in their droves. Greece took a leadership position during the pandemic.
“The future for the sector in Greece is optimistic. By the end of this year, the sector’s contribution will be almost back to 2019 levels. Over the next decade, growth will outstrip the national economy growth rate and create thousands of new jobs over the next decade.”
What does the next decade look like?
The global tourism body is forecasting that the sector will grow its GDP contribution to €57.2 billion by 2033, representing nearly a quarter (23.6%) of the Greek economy.
Over the next decade, Travel & Tourism could employ more than 1,02 million people across the country, with one in four jobs supported by the sector.
In 2022, the European Travel & Tourism sector contributed €1.9 trillion to the regional economy, just 7% below the 2019 peak. WTTC forecasts the regional sector’s GDP contribution will reach €2.04 trillion in 2023 and be within touching distance of the 2019 highpoint.
The sector employed 34.7 million people across the region in 2022, an increase of 2.9 million from the previous year, but still 3.2 million behind the 2019 peak. WTTC forecasts the sector will fully recover the jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of 2024.
Italian Development Agency to invest €1.4 million preserving Kanyaka Island in Mozambique
The handbook says Kanyaka is in Maputo, Southern Mozambique. it further says that Kanyaka is situated nearby to Tóbia and Jona. It is an island which attracts tourists for leisure so the Mozambique government attaches importance to its development and preservation.
Rádio Mozambique reported early June that the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) would invest around €1.4 million in the preservation and enhancement of the environmental heritage of Kanyaka Island.
Through environmental protection, tourism development and sustainable agriculture projects, the Kanyaka community would benefit from tools to better preserve the island’s ecosystem. The ‘MangAction’ project, within the framework of the ManGrowth initiative, was formally presented to the district of Kanyaka.
Project coordinator Frederica Ferrari said that the three-year project would deliver benefits to the entire island community. The initiative would be managed by a consortium made up of civil society organisations ICEI – Istituto Cooperazione Economica Internazionale, WeWorld Onlus, with Natura Mozambique, IUCN Mozambique and Abiodes (Associação para Desenvolvimen to Sustentável).
It aims to preserve and value the environmental heritage for a sustainable and resilient development in the bay of Maputo. The project was launched with the support of the Kanyaka Tour Operators Association (AOTUKA), whose chairman Angelo Manguele said that the biggest benefit of the project would be gaining knowledge of the best ways to preserve the island’s environmental heritage.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi previously inaugurated a new ferry boat that operates between central Maputo and the Island. The boat, named “Kanyaka” cost $2.7 million and was acquired in Greece. It has the capacity to carry 156 passengers, and five tonnes of cargo, including one vehicle. The boat, built in 2008, has a top speed of 14 knots (26 kilometres an hour).
With the trip from Maputo to Kanyaka now takes one hour and 45 minutes, compared with two and a half hours on the previous ferry, which could only carry 70 passengers.The islanders requested a new ferry when Nyusi visited Kanyaka.
The new ferry service, the President said, would overcome the common perception that Island “is too far away”. Poor transport links, he added, had made life on the island more expensive, and led to shortages in basic goods that must be shipped in from Maputo. The isolation of Inyaka also inhibited its tourism potential.
Nyusi said he was sure that the new ferry would not only reduce the suffering of the islanders, but would help improve the business environment in this part of the country. It was important, he added, to guarantee safety and comfort for the 6,000 inhabitants of Inyaka who regularly travel to and from central Maputo.
The boat now ensures regular supplies of basic goods, and of medicines, and reduces the time needed to take people who fall ill on Island to Maputo hospitals. “The island has a strong tourist potential,” said the President, “and Mozambican and foreign tourists can now visit in less time and with greater comfort. The 12,000 species of the marine ecosystem can be a source for ecotourism.”
The ferry is operated by the company Transmaritima, and Nyusi urged the company’s managers to design package trips for tourists visiting the island. The sustainability of the ferry service depends on the management capacity, not a burden on the government.
The country’s natural environment, wildlife, and historic heritage provide opportunities for beach, cultural and ecotourism. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Makonde are known for their wood carving and elaborate masks, which are commonly used in traditional dances. Mozambique is located in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, has approximately 30 million population.
Tourism: sustainability is the trend of 2023
Sustainability is a more topical issue than ever and people are increasingly adopting habits and lifestyles aimed at limiting their impact on the environment. The tourism industry also fits into this context: in fact, an increasingly growing number of travellers choose to spend their holidays according to principles of sustainability and respect for the territories.
This trend is reflected in the numbers: according to the latest data of the Swg observatory released in March of this year, four Italians out of five would be willing to experience sustainable tourism, thus preferring to stay in a certified environmentally-friendly structure at the same cost. As far as the environmental protection initiatives are concerned, almost 70% of the sample respondents are in favour of limited access and traffic restrictions and 73% would be ready to do without their cars and to use public transport or ecological vehicles.
The trend is also confirmed by the results of the study on the impact of sustainability on the Italian tourism supply chain conducted by Deloitte in partnership with AICEO. According to the data gathered from this research, 64% of respondents stated that the effects of climate change have led them to consider travelling in a more sustainable way: a percentage which reaches 71% among those under 25 years of age. The will to shift towards sustainable tourism is especially driven by the desire to protect the territory (60%) and reduce environmental impact through ecological means of transport (52%). The growing attention towards sustainability is also reflected in the strong recovery of train travel, which recorded over 1 million passengers a day in 2022. As clearly emerged at the BIT 2023, the International Tourism Exchange, Italy is a particularly popular destination for foreign tourists, whose purchases of Trenitalia products have increased by 25% in 2022 compared to the pre-Covid period.
The possibility to move quickly from one major city to another thanks to High-Speed transport and the vast offer of regional and Intercity trains precisely responds to the demand for a more sustainable tourism that is attentive to the environment, territories and communities.
Such attention is also shared by True Italian Experience, a digital hub whose goal is to promote, diffuse and develop the Italian tourism market: a tourism consisting of unique experiences built around the passions and interests of travellers, always in full respect of sustainability and social responsibility principles. Maurizio Rota, CEO of True Italian Experience, confirms such commitment:
“More and more tourists are attentive to the sustainability issue. As a result, True Italian Experience offers travel packages designed to interconnect the various Italian locations using the railway system. True Italian Experience provides packages aimed at discovering the territory and which can be combined with sectors such as cycle tourism and electric mobility to ensure intermodal solutions in line with the principles of sustainability and social respect.
In fact, True Italian Experience believes sustainability concerns both the environment and social responsibility. As a result, our travel packages favour the young start-ups scattered over small towns nationwide and which foster and develop tourism from a digital perspective that would not otherwise have a preferential access to the market. In particular, we value the tourism businesses, cooperatives and start-ups present throughout remote areas of our Country and which thus focus on the development of a sustainable and gentle type of tourism.”
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