Big Ambitions' Logo
Africa needs to unite to promote tourism


Africa Travel Week






Africa needs to unite to promote tourism

Cape Town, 12 April 2022 – Africa will need to work together as one destination if the continent’s tourism industry wants to attract much-needed investment for the future. That was the overriding message of tourism ministers from across Africa at the WTM Africa Ministerial Roundtable 2022.

“Africa is the future – without doubt,” said Dr Rifai, former Secretary General of the UNWTO, setting the tone for the rest of the conference. “We’re all Africans: we all came out of Africa. But Africa cannot be what it should be if the continent doesn’t work together.”

The ministers agreed that the challenges Africa still faces are numerous, and include poverty, climate change, accessibility and connectivity issues, visa obstacles and a divided approach to Covid regulations.

Balala, who is Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, explained that to grow tourism to the continent it’s important to have seamless and unified Covid protocols that instil confidence in overseas travellers. According to Balala, Africa could triple the number of incoming travellers if all African countries worked better together to improve connectivity.

He emphasised that Africa should become a continental domestic market where air connectivity is number one and airfares can become more affordable. Rail transport is also important, as well as relaxation of visa regimes.

“Currently, only 26 cities in Africa are connected. We need connectivity by air and we need to stop monopolistic behaviours of African countries … Let’s open our minds – diversify products and markets and invest in change,” Balala expounded. “We need to grow together to grow faster, together.”

Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, agreed and said Africa needs to come together to attract tourism and build a strong and resilient tourism industry.

Also Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, highlighted opportunities of a united approach for tourism. She said: “Africa is the best continent. We need to come together and say: come to Africa.”

In order for investment to happen, Ken Osei, Principal Investment Officer for the International Finance Corporation, explained that a coordinated approach is required. “Everyone is talking about the need for investment in tourism. The truth is, however, that capital is always looking for a good home. Investors will look for projects that bring a good return and that are bankable. So, the advice is to design tourism projects with purpose.”

Other elements to take into consideration, according to Osei, were public-private partnerships for funding, sustainable financing and green bonds. “We need to remember that tourism is part of a broader eco-system,” he said.

Humphrey Nwugo, Regional COO Afrexim Bank, agreed: “Capital is shy and only goes to where it is protected. Africa had the second fastest growing tourism sector in the world. Money must meet this opportunity but the opportunity needs to prepare itself to meet the requirements.”

– ENDS –

Issued by: Big Ambitions

Contact: Dorine Reinstein

Tel: +27 83 278 8994


World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Next virtual event: Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 19th May 2022

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 4 November – Friday 11 November 2022 – Around London

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at