ASATA column: Unlocking Africa

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All indications are that the downturn in the global economy may be changing tack, but those Eurozone countries still make the hair on the back of our necks stand up, as so much depends on their recovery. Interestingly though, the most energetic growth we are seeing in the travel industry is happening in Africa. South Africa’s national carrier, SAA has shown its commitment to the region with the recent introduction of flights into Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, and Kigali in Rwanda. These additional flights will service both the in-bound and the out-bound market, and will feed the long-term strategy of South African Tourism.

Investment in hotel development has long been the subject of discussion, but there is other infrastructure that is just as important. Our colleagues in other parts of Africa often approach ASATA for opinion on industry-related issues. In some instances, this may pertain to dealing with suppliers, but it is often also a business opportunity. ASATA members have ventured into Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, opening travel companies in those markets and essentially following their customer’s needs.

Given that ASATA has built a platform over the past 56 years establishing networks and engaging with key stakeholders, it is fitting that we should take the lead and work closely with our African counterparts and extend that platform. Ultimately, this will be beneficial to all parties and should equip the players in managing risk.

On a recent visit to Namibia it was very apparent that ASATA was in a position to assist both the travel industry and its customers. Common issues exist, but our resources in South Africa are more accessible, which often results in an effective and workable solution. 

Quite simply, these solutions can and should be shared, providing a blueprint for the sustainable growth of the industry, going forward. 

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