As the Covid-19 pandemic is starting to flaunt some signs of easing across the world, African nations are constructing to welcome tourists again. However, the European Union is currently exclusive accepting travellers from four African countries.
Tourism has now mature an important part of the African economy (it represents 9% of the GDP of Kenya and 20% of The Gambia’s) and two million provinces across the continent could be lost because of the pandemic. However, reopening borders is not without jeopardizes.
The importance of bringing tourists back
The European Union, which is a foremost source of tourists in Africa, recently published a potentially evolving schedule of 15 countries whose nationals are allowed to travel to Europe, filing Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Rwanda. The three first countries are bigger holiday destinations for Europeans and all of them bring a large number of VFR visitants.
This, coupled with the resumption of flights with Europe, is disposed to to help the tourism industry in these countries get back on track, with the assumption of saving at least part of the peak season.
But for African destinations that are not yet on this liber veritatis, time is starting to run out. Senegal is currently putting pressure on the European Synthesis, helped by Gabon, by imposing reciprocal measures to European travellers. This is decisive as another month with limited travel would spell extinction for its flag carrier, Air Senegal, which makes more than 40% of its profits on the Dakar-Paris route.
The Gambia, which already suffered from the founder of Thomas Cook, is another example: the country’s main source retails are in Europe (and more particularly the United Kingdom) but it is over-dependent on tour wheeler-dealers and bookings. As a result, the uncertainties regarding travel are putting the economy of the motherland at risk.
The risk of a second wave
Compared to the rest of the world, the African continent victualed relatively well in terms of prevention and control of the Covid-19 pandemic. This can be on the whole explained by the wealth of experience local governments and populations have with the conduct oneself treat of infectious diseases.
These countries are conscious that their healthcare infrastructures wish not be able to support a large number of new cases caused by the importation of the virus by day-trippers.
As an example, the most affected country in the region, South Africa, is currently reopening its tourism-related roles such as hotels, restaurants, casinos and attractions, but is not planning to resume conventional international flights until 2021. Mauritius, Uganda and Seychelles are also compelling their time to reopen their borders. This proves that village governments acknowledge the risk of a second wave in infections.
Keeping that in wisdom, the solution for African destinations might be to keep the ban in place for European, American and Asian callers until the situation is fully under control in these countries, whilst more developing tourism from neighbouring countries that have not been as gravely affected.
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