Africa embraces the idea of open borders

Africa embraces the idea of open borders

Countries in Africa are prioritising visa-free travel around the continent for inhabitants and visitors as an essential factor in the region’s economic development, reveals The Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London 2017 Edition.

The report, produced by Euromonitor International, notes the African Union’s Agenda 2063 initiative which called for with the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018. The document also advocated e-visa and e-passport capabilities.

“In stark contrast to the US and Europe, where there are increasing calls for stronger border controls and barring certain travellers from entry, African leaders are seeing travel and tourism as a way to boost the economic prosperity of the continent,” the report says.

It identifies Ghana as one of the countries giving its full backing to the Agenda 2063 aims. Ghana started to offer visas upon arrival for all African Union member states in 2016, and visa-free travel for 17 countries.

However, “the proposals are mired in challenges, and much of the workings are still unclear” with the macro-economic and political climate slowing progress. The report says that major discrepancies in GDP per country is behind politicians’ concerns around one-way migration – as an example, it points out that South Africa’s GDP per capita is expected to be 10 times higher than neighbouring Zimbabwe by 2030.

The travel industry could do more to help, the report suggests. Direct air routes between countries remain limited, forcing many African citizens to travel via Europe to reach another African country. “Increasing flights between regional hubs would contribute to a more open Africa,” it advises.

More intra-Africa flights would help address a dilemma facing the regions’ tourists boards and destination management companies. Currently many budgets are focused on attracting European and North American travellers instead of their neighbours.

Euromonitor International, Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner said: “Africa’s intra-regional tourism potential is being hampered by the visa requirements, and while implementation of the Agenda 2063 has been patchy, the efforts made by countries such as Ghana are to be welcomed. More air inventory would help, but the visa issue is making airlines reluctant to commit to some routes.”

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press: “The UNWTO Ministers’ Summit is one of WTM London’s flagship sessions, and every year tourism ministers from around the globe agree on the importance of easy access between nations. Governments in Africa need to listen to their tourism teams and start implementing the changes which will make travelling around the continent easier for inhabitants and travellers.”


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The events are;

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 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.

WTM Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 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: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai


 About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than 7m participants.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.


About Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence and strategic market analysis. We have more than 40 years of experience publishing international market reports, business reference books and online databases on consumer markets.


About the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking

For the first time ever, Euromonitor International’s highly anticipated will be presented at the World Travel Market event in London on November 7, 2017. This year’s report incorporates WTM Global Travel Trends to give further insight on how city destinations are at the forefront of tourism growth and innovation and how travel trends are borne out of the opportunities and challenges that cities face.


More information, please contact:

Paul Nelson – WTM Portfolio PR Manager


T: +44 (0)20 8910 7032/ M: +44 (0)79 1955 5510

Natalia Hartmann – WTM Portfolio PR Executive


T: +44 (0)20 8439 5535/ M: +44 (0)74 0336 7331

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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