That was the overarching message of the recent African Tourism Investment Summit (ATIS), hosted by International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) and World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) at Africa Travel Week (ATW) which featured no fewer than nine incredible ministerial and investment expert panel discussions and presentations.
Sounding the call for collaboration, Taleb Rifai, chair, ITIC, said it would take five years for 70 percent of the world’s population to be vaccinated and that it would be impractical to pin tourism’s hopes on this before travel could resume in earnest.
“We cannot face this as individual governments. We have to work together and not just ministers of tourism, but also ministers of health, of transport. African Governments must work together and create a minimum procedure and protocol for travel. We can’t have one country insisting on quarantine, its neighbour insisting on vaccinations and a third one requiring testing. There has to be a standardised minimum level of procedures that is agreed upon for travel to be possible. There’s no other way.”
Taleb’s view was widely supported by the various ministers and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) CEO, Gloria Guevara who called for an international mobility programme to deliver the certainty required for travel.
“We cannot consider entire countries as infected and thus quarantined, so there is a need to move from country assessment to individual assessment. If we can have agreement among the countries in Africa, we could resume international travel and bring back travellers and jobs,” said Guevara, whose recommendation for Africa would be to define clear rules and to work together to put together a mobility protocol.