Innovative Solutions to Develop Africa’s Tourism Industry

St Louis, Mauritius - The World Bank Group opened today a two-day forum on Tourism Connectivity to explore innovative approaches to developing Sub-Saharan Africa’s tourism industry. 

The event gathered delegates from the Ministries of Tourism and Transport in Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, and the Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone, as well as leading tourism industry experts, World Bank tourism specialists, and representatives from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and contributes significantly to a country’s GDP and employment: in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in every twenty jobs is in the tourism sector, and half of all hospitality businesses in the region are managed by women.

The World Bank Group is working with partner countries to address the constraints that inhibit the growth of the tourism industry in Sub-Saharan Africa and explore innovative solutions to these constraints. This includes looking at key issues such as improving air connectivity and easing visa restrictions within Africa.

A country’s openness and connectivity are two fundamental considerations for tourism, especially in smaller and more remote destinations like Mauritius: only a country open to receiving tourists and connected to the rest of the world via efficient and affordable means of transportation will be able to leverage its full tourism potential. Promoting open skies and increasing route development, particularly within Sub-Saharan Africa, will make it easier and more affordable for tourists to travel in the region.

Africa’s natural and socio-cultural resources offer great potential for a growing, competitive tourism industry that will contribute to reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity. Improving air connectivity and easing visa restrictions will also greatly contribute to private sector development in the region noted Carolin Geginat, World Bank Program Leader for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions.

Following this week’s forum, the World Bank Group will publish a set of actionable recommendations setting out innovative approaches to guide and support the tourism sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. These include how to gather and analyze data (including user generated data) rom tourism and hospitality services to inform regional and country-specific tourism policies.

The recommendations set forth in the report are expected to contribute to creating a positive business-enabling environment and developing better air transport development policy and targeted air service development programs.

* The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: The World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

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