ZIMBABWE and fellow African states should engage private American tourism promotion boards if they wish to attract more visitors from the Americas, a tourism expert has said.
Lisa Greyhill, co-founder of Adventure Travellers Society, told participants at a Sanganai/Hlanganani market workshop recently in Bulawayo that United States of America president Donald Trump’s administration is not eager to engage Africa in tourism.
So as an executive board member of Association Promoting Tourism to Africa (APTA), the American tourism expert is driving at engaging various African tourism authorities on how best to improve tourism interaction between the continents.
“I don’t think Mr Trump has focus on tourism to Africa. It’s up to us to work on issues that can make tourism work between us,” said Greyhill.
Political experts opine US-Africa policy has been adrift since Trump took office. They argue that Trump’s administration does not take Africa-related issues seriously and has since shown little interest in engaging with African countries beyond leveraging military ties.
“We are interested in what the African continent has to offer in tourism. However, I feel there is need to work on your pricing of products,” she said, adding: “Every American company is responsible for the insurance of its members and that is how we have managed to convince people to travel this side.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the same workshop, Thebe Ikalafeng, the founder and chairman of Brand Leadership Group said tourism on the continent can only improve if the brand of Africa is projected in a positive way.
He urged African countries to relax their immigration laws and come up with a common visa and currencies.
“The challenge is in our continent, you need at least 30 visas to travel around and that is not good. We need to coordinate our efforts so that we get rid of all negative perceptions that affect travel to Africa. As a solution there is need to promote intra-African tourism. For example, Zimbabwe/Zambia could jointly market the Victoria Falls instead of competing for tourists,” said Ikalafeng.
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