The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
effective air connectivity within Africa is key to unlocking the
potentials of tourism in the continent.
The Minister made the assertion at the 65th Meeting of the United
Nations World Tourism Organization-Commission for Africa (UNWTO-CAF)
which opened in Arusha, Tanzania, on Wednesday.
”There is no doubt that air transportation is pivotal for any
international tourism development (more so in Africa), owing to the
need for tourists to move to the product destination. Air travels
continue to be the dominant mode of travel for international tourists,
accounting for over 50 per cent of all international arrivals
”It is obvious, therefore, that growing air transportation into and
within the African region, including effective connectivity through
the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision on a Single
African Air Transport Market is key to unlocking Africa’s tourism
potential,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed urged African Ministers of Tourism to co-operate and
collaborate with their colleagues African Ministers of Aviation to
achieve this (Single African Air Transport Market).
Reeling out statistics to back his assertion, the Minister, who also
listed unfavourable visa regimes, insecurity, high cost of air
transport and low quality of tourism support services among other
factors hindering the growth of tourism in Africa, said Africa’s share
of global international arrivals remains a paltry 5 per cent.
”The truth is that the performance of the region’s aviation industry,
though improving, continues to lag behind that of the rest of the
world, accounting for a dismal 3 per cent of the global air transport traffic.
Of the 1,431 country pairs between the African Union countries, only
19% had some form of significant direct service in 2019 (that is
operated at least once weekly on an annual basis).
”As of 2019, only 35 per cent of the African routes were operated daily, and
only 13 per cent were operated twice daily while many operated at less than
daily frequency. Such services offer passengers very limited choices
in terms of their journey timing and prevent passengers from obtaining
a convenient itinerary.
”This negatively impacts productivity and ultimately has a cost
implication. New routes and more frequencies will shorten flying time
between many cities in Africa. For example, as of 2019 there was no
regular direct service between the Central African Republic and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The most convenient routing available
then was via West Africa or Morocco. This could take between 9 and 15
hours while a direct service would take about 2 hours only!” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the liberalization of Air Transport in Africa is
so important, because it will lead to an additional 145 country pairs
that will receive direct service, boost tourism and also increase
frequencies on existing routes by 27 per cent.