African countries urged to ease travel restrictions to boost sector

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Inter-continental business travel is expected to drive growth in Africa’s tourism industry over the next two years. But in order to sustain this growth, experts believe African governments need to ease up on travel regulations and encourage competition, especially in the airline industry. Business travel remains strong while there’s been a marked slowdown in leisure travel due the global economic slowdown and a wave of deadly terrorist attacks in parts of Africa. High costs and stringent travel regulations also makes travelling in Africa expensive and cumbersome.

Delegates at the Africa Travel Conference are optimistic about the travel industry. Many say that countries in Africa have made huge strides in making it easier for travellers to get around but infrastructure still remains poor, making it difficult and expensive to travel on the continent. Experts say high travel costs are also driven by the reluctance of African governments to open up their skies to new competitors, which will make travelling cheaper and more efficient.

Most countries in Africa still require visas, even for those from the continent.

“The cost of entering countries is incredibly expensive. And again being slightly cynical, a number of countries in my opinion are really seeing this as a revenue generation opportunity, a taxing opportunity rather than applying genuine checks on people before they come to the country.” Chris Pouney, Partner, Nina and Pinta

Africa still has some way to go in improving the environment making it more conducive for business and leisure travellers. The travel industry believes changes are being effected and that growth in this sector will soon tick up again.

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