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Word from CBC Chairperson
Dr. Amany Asfour
Africa's transformational agenda is fast becoming a tangible reality. Intra regional trade is clearly an overarching theme of many countries in Africa, as we seek to promote more consumption of our goods and services,and to reduce the impediments to business through common business and trade facilitation instruments promoted by COMESA and other Regional communities. The tourism industry has been primarily customised to attract international tourists. This has been seen from the constant flow of tourists from Europe and North America, and this is a key success story for Africa. However, it is important to also pay close consideration to the regional market segment and develop affordable products that will increase inbound tourism in COMESA.The COMESA Sustainable Tourism Framework covers a range of strategies to liberate trade in tourism across the region. One key outstanding factor was the lack of knowledge about what our neighbouring countries had to offer and how this can be explored
to create more revenue for the region. The COMESA Tourism and Wildlife Heritage handbook is a tool to market the region as a single destination that offers sights and sounds that are of quality, affordable and also informative of our cultures and histories as Africa. I am proud to lead this project and happy to inform you that this publication is the first of many that will be championed through the Public- Private Partnership led by CBC and COMESA.
The COMESA Sustainable Tourism Framework covers a range of strategies to liberate trade in tourism across the region . One key outstanding factor was the lack of knowledge about what our neighbouring countries had to offer and how this can be explored to create more revenue for the region. The COMESA Tourism and Wildlife Heritage handbook is a tool to market the region as a single destination that offers sights and sounds that are of quality, affordable and also informative of our cultures and histories as Africa. I am proud to lead this project and happy to inform you that this publication is the first of many that will be championed through the Public- Private Partnership led by CBC and COMESA.
As businesses continue to grow and expand in our respective countries, we as the private sector can also adapt the mindset of promoting responsible business practices that strengthen sustainability and conservation of our flora and wildlife. The information herein will not only take you on an exciting adventure through COMESA from the comfort of your homes, but will also plant a seed of the various ways you can contribute to supporting the socio- economic factors that surround tourism competitiveness. This industry has a multiplier effect on so many sectors in the region and impacts the lives of players in the agricultural sector, ICT and medical services industry, hospitality industry, retail markets and the like.
The next 10-20 years, will see over 15 countries in Africa move from low to middle income economies and this will significantly increae disposable incomes, better logistics and a heighted tourism potential from neighbouring countries. What is the region doing about this? In an effort to tap into this opportunity, we are giving the regional information on what you are missing out from your neighbouring countries. We are also encouraging international tourists to expand their interests to more than one country- as we work together to develop transboundary tourism packages that are fit for various consumer pockets. To date transport efficiency has greatly improved with more that 10 regional and international air carriers at the customers disposal, road , rail and maritime netowrks operating to exemplary capacity and improved ICT and telecommunications netowrks to facilitate your travels. ` I would also take this opportunity to put some recommendations . I hereby encourage member states to;
• Foster collaboration in terms of trans-frontier agreements and resource management
• Prioritise Tourism through Encourage and facilitate increased budgetary allocations to national tourism offices and tourism boards for marketing and promotion of tourism
• Ensure country immigration authorities develop an appropriate framework to facilitate adoption of single tourist visa for the region
• Encourage regional governments, through incentives or legislation, to call on private sector to commit to including sustainable tourism in their operations
• Strengthen strong political commitment to development of ICT and ICT infrastructure within member states
As a passionate stakeholder of the tourism industry I would also like to highlight the impact on the sector on Small and Medium Enterprises and cross border traders who are primarily made up of women and youth. In the past 10 years, the industry has created jobs to the locals, approximately 20 million jobs have been created reports the African Development Bank. Each country you enter presents you with unique food, ethical fashions and various hospitalities that capture the authenticities and cultures of the people. Your tourism experience is not limited to just safaris and bus tours, but also exposed to exciting interactions with culture that is unique only to Africa. I hope this publication will expose you to discoveries of the COMESA world of flavor, adventure and memories that you can share with the world.
It is therefore paramount that we embrace the tourism sector and its contributions to private sector development. May I recognize the support from our partners United States Agency for International Development-USAID, COMESA Secretariat, CBC members and sponsors , the Tourism Boards and Associations of COMESA and CBC staff . I now invite you to have a taste of the beauty of our region. Enjoy the COMESA adventure.