Ed­i­tors Note: Will Open Skies Drive Tourism?

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Inside Issue11 -

With no doubt, avi­a­tion plays a cen­tral role in sup­port­ing tourism. Over 54% of in­ter­na­tional tourists now travel by air and avi­a­tion in Africa re­mains one of the fastest grow­ing sec­tors to­day. With a no­tice­able in­crease in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers, the con­ti­nent is be­com­ing a des­ti­na­tion of world­wide air­lines, and a ma­jor mar­ket for busi­ness avi­a­tion. On the other hand, tourism makes a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to the African econ­omy. An es­ti­mated 5.8 mil­lion peo­ple are em­ployed in ar­eas sup­ported by the steady in­flux of over­seas vis­i­tors, most of whom ar­rive in the re­gion by air, and con­trib­uted $46 bil­lion to GDP in African economies in 2014. Re­cently, African coun­tries took the first ma­jor step to­wards cheaper con­ti­nen­tal flights and open­ing the con­ti­nent’s skies al­most three decades af­ter it was first pro­posed. On 28 Jan­uary 2018, twenty-three African coun­tries launched the Sin­gle African Air Trans­port Mar­ket (SAATM) ini­tia­tive by the African Union (AU). The big­ger pic­ture is the prom­ise of job cre­ation, im­proved in­tra-African trade and freer move­ment of peo­ple. How­ever, some ex­perts are still very pes­simistic about the idea. A few ex­perts be­lieve that SAATM will lead to the supremacy of African skies by a few, al­ready dom­i­nant African air­lines since most African coun­tries do not have enough fi­nan­cial re­sources to cap­i­talise their air­lines. Martin Chemhere be­lieves that the Zim­babwe aerospace in­dus­try is a prom­ise to huge prospects, es­pe­cially af­ter a change of gov­ern­ment in the coun­try (see page 52) and in an­other up­date from Ki­gali, RwandAir re­cently com­menced flights to Abuja in Nige­ria and Cape Town in South Africa. Bring­ing the to­tal des­ti­na­tions of the air­line to twenty-six. In this edi­tion, Kate Web­ster – a new ad­di­tion to our editorial team, treks into the for­est to spend time with both go­ril­las and the Batwa Pygmy peo­ple of Bwindi – the orig­i­nal peo­ple of the Uganda’s Bwindi Na­tional Park’s rain­for­est (see page 34). Africa as one of the most di­verse con­ti­nents on the planet has it all; vast deserts, lush jun­gles and trop­i­cal par­adise is­lands. Sadly for many coun­tries, main­stream tourists are still put off by all the red tape.. Many peo­ple reg­u­larly visit pop­u­lar places like Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, but have no idea of the least-vis­ited places. Find out more on this sub­ject with Matt Baron in his piece on page 12. At No­mad Africa, show­cas­ing Africa’s unique des­ti­na­tions is our pas­sion. This is the same rea­son we work closely with gov­ern­ment tourism boards across the con­ti­nent to show­case their des­ti­na­tions and im­prove on their tourism fig­ures. In so do­ing, we have cre­ated a unique plat­form for clients wish­ing to pro­mote busi­ness, in­vest­ments and aware­ness of their ser­vices and prod­ucts in Africa. If you are yet to get in touch, the best time to do so is now. Fi­nally, as I page through the con­tents of this spe­cial avi­a­tion edi­tion of the mag­a­zine, I can’t but stop ask­ing my­self; will open skies re­ally be able to drive tourism sig­nif­i­cantly in Africa?

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