SITE Africa launch White Paper

SITE Africa launch White Paper - A Strategic Vision for Business Event Travel and Tourism: Covid-19 Protocols and The Reopening of Borders and Skies in Africa

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SITE Africa has recently launched a Draft White Paper in proactive response to the threats and potential opportunities Covid-19 brings to the African Continent.

Developed from a Summit held by SITE Africa on June 11th, SITE Africa’s Draft White Paper aims to stimulate new thinking, and collaboration. As the product of extensive consultation between key stakeholders and thought leaders, it aims to provide a platform for African governments to develop policies and strategies which will assist the African continent to progress as a leading global business events destination.

Highlighted at the Summit was the uncoordinated nature of the industry across the continent. This has led to fragmented strategies which limit Africa’s ability to harness the vastness and diversity of Africa’s business event tourism offerings on a continental scale. As such, focus is firmly placed on finding ways for the continent to collaborate in the process of opening up the airspace and air routes across the continent. According to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), Africa is home to over 1.2 billion people with a huge geographical spread that is largely land-locked. Given the lack of robust alternative infrastructure across the continent (road, rail, water), aviation is the most effective way to get around the continent.

Further to physical access, it is ascertained that the creation of open access agreements between African countries would drastically improve the potential for sustainable economic advancements. A borderless Africa should be seen as a foundation for a viable continental market aimed at accelerating growth, allowing the continent to become more competitive in global trade. More inter-regional and intra-African travel would enable tourism sectors within the continent to develop across borders, thereby creating economies of scale for potential investors given that investors.

While continental-wise fragmentation issues were noted, this Draft White Paper also highlights the sector readiness to safely reopen for business. There is confidence that in spite of Covid-19, due to the self-regulatory nature of the industry, there are already Covid-19 associated protocols in place which ensure a preparedness and ability to reopen. However, there is a need for collaboration between African countries, careful planning and coordination of the sector, and strong leadership from the various governments.

The paper has 3 main focus areas:

  1. Setting out the regulatory context for reopening business event travel and tourism in the Covid-19 environment in Africa
  2. Setting out a collaborative framework for the reopening of continental borders for business events travel and tourism and its impact on the tourism supply chain.
  3. Setting out a strategic framework for reopening of air travel and creation of new air routes within the continent

It is held that while this White Paper is in many ways a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is equally an opportunity to ensure the realisation of regional tourism growth as well as safeguarding the industry against future hardships.

To get further information on SITE Africa’s insights and proposals, please see here to download the White Paper in full.

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