Travel documents for leisure tourists have been raised as one of the main challenges at the Annual World Tourism Conference in Johannesburg.
Stakeholders gathered to tackle issues affecting growth in this sector.
South Africa remains the leader on the continent, but much more needs to be done to boost rural and township tourism.
Guest House owner Mfanafuthi Sibiya is not a newcomer in the industry but after running a guesthouse for 13 years, he’s still battling.
Sibiya says small players need more support, ”The thing that I sometimes wish we had tourism forums – even if it’s quarterly sessions – because I believe that our peculiarities do require a specific attention and sometimes we get lost in the scope that is quite wild.”
Tourism Industry giants gathered in Joburg share the same voice of strengthening economic growth and job creation though South Africa has the largest tourism economy in Africa.
Gillian Saunders from Independent Tourism Hospitality says, “A huge number of countries in the world have online visa system where you do biometrics on arrival and those have a very fast turnaround time. Australia, for instance, gives most Chinese a two-day turnaround time. We need to move towards that system, but in the interim it will be nice to see our visa system improve and it will also be nicer to see more countries getting visa wavers.”
Poaching has also become a threat to the South African Tourism, but young women have put their lives at risk to protect the pride of Africa.
Leitah Mkhabela from Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) says, ”In South Africa, we get more opportunities to work from tourism. If we continue losing wild animals, our next generation will struggle. That’s why we put our lives on the line to speak for the animals and to fight and protect the wild animals because we know the benefit.”
The World Travel and Tourism Council have encouraged travel within the continent to boosts growth.
“If you look at the projections, in 2030 with the largest youth population growing in the world, we can only imagine the growth in Africa that’s going to come from within Africa, and I think that we need to talk about tourism of Africans travelling to Africa,” says Mkhabela.
While these stakeholders are engaging with the governments to relax travel restrictions for tourists, they also called on travellers to adhere to the necessary processes to avoid disappointments.
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