By Daniel Chigundu
AFRICA has about 55 countries and is endowed with a lot of natural resources and wonders which play a critical role in attracting visitors for tourism and business purposes.
However, the continent only accounts for about 5 percent of the one billion plus international visitors who criss-cross the world of tourism.
According to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), China will provide over 600million outbound tourists by 2020 and this reaffirms China’s position as the world’s biggest outbound tourism market since 2012.
Africa might not benefit from the Chinese outbound tourism boom owing to various bottlenecks that dominate the continent’s tourism sector chiefly the issue of visas.
Already, tourist arrivals from China and India, arguably the biggest source markets of the world’s outbound tourists have been on a downward trail in Zimbabwe owing to strict visa regimes and other immigration challenges.
Addressing delegates at the Sanganai/Hlanganani Market workshop, Brand Leadership Group chairman Thebe Ikalafeng said it’s difficult to travel on the continent, adding that there is a need for a uni-visa.
“The challenge about our continent is that it’s so difficult to travel around the continent; some people say you need 30 Visas just to travel across the entire continent, to me that’s a problem which if we are going to encourage Africans to travel around Africa, to trade within Africa, we are going to need to find ways to get either a uni-visa,” he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo recently revealed that Zimbabwe was working towards the uni-visa to help easy travel.
“We are also pleased in Zimbabwe that we have started working on a uni-visa where many countries around like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and I think as far as Angola are agreeing to come up with a uni-visa.
“It is not yet fully implemented but that makes it easy for anybody who enters one of those countries, you can then enter all the countries without having to get a new visa and getting your passport stamped, once you enter Zambia, you can enter Zimbabwe and go to any of those countries.
“Right now it’s working very well between Zambia and Zimbabwe and we hope in the future that program can work in all the countries making Zimbabwe a country easier to travel for people from outside,” she said.