NEPAD Tourism is identified as an important vehicle to addressing the current development challenges facing the African continent, which is closely linked to market access and private sector development.

 

The promotion of sustainable tourism has significant potential to diversify economic opportunities and generate income and foreign exchange earnings for African countries. In addition to developing local economies, a government-led and private sector driven tourism industry can unlock the potential of local communities. Trans-boundary tourism initiatives also have the potential to promote regional Integration.

NEPAD’s Tourism aims and role

NEPAD’s Tourism as an engine and catalyst for economic development and growth in Africa and its replication in the country level such as Nigeria has the following aims and roles;
i. Creating an enabling regulatory environment;
ii. Strengthening institutional capacity;
iii. Promoting tourism marketing;
iv. Promoting research and development;
v. Promoting investment in Tourism infrastructure and products;
vi. Reinforcing human resources and quality assurance;
vii. Establishing and adopting a code of conduct and ethics in Tourism;
viii. Mobilising financial resources.

What is happening in the programme?

Tourism is recognised as one of the sectors with the greatest potential to contribute to the economic regeneration of the continent, particularly through the diversification of African economies and generation of foreign exchange earnings. In this context, carefully considered strategic intervention in the tourism sector at the continental and country levels have the potential to catalyse growth in other areas of the economy, for example, agriculture, horticulture and the service sector. More importantly, the tourism sector has a huge potential to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and ultimately eradicate poverty.
To this end, NEPAD has organized series of advocacy programmes and workshops.

What progress has been made so far?

The draft Tourism Action Plan was presented to and adopted with amendments by African Tourism Ministers at the 41st WTO CAF meeting, in Mahe Seychelles on 10-11 May 2004. The Action Plan was adopted at the 3rd General Assembly of the AU on 6-8 July 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Assembly further called on African Ministers of Tourism to form a Steering Committee of Ministry of Tourism to guide the AU Commission and the NEPAD Secretariat, as well as Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member states, in the implementation of the Tourism Action Plan. The Committee is to be chaired by a tourism Minister whose country will be chairing the AU at one time.

At the country level, the following progress has been made:

i. The AU/NEPAD Tourism Action Plan has been mainstreamed into the National Tourism Policy;
ii. The Action Plan has been domesticated to many Government related (Tourism) and private sector stakeholders;
iii. As a result, lots of proposals from Private sector Tourism practitioners have been received to partner with NEPAD Nigeria on Public Private Partnership (PPP);
iv. Through one of the mandates of NEPAD which is ‘Poverty Alleviation’ a National Dialogue on ‘Sustainable Tourism Development: A vehicle for poverty alleviation and wealth creation’ was held at Bolingo Hotel, Abuja, in 2008;
v. A member of the Ministerial Committee on ‘Welcome to Nigeria’ which is a communication outfit by a private sector Tourism practitioner, to market and promote Nigeria Tourism based on Public Private Partnership (PPP);
vi. GOGE Africa- a Private sector Tourism Practitioner in Magazine publication in collaboration with NEPAD Nigeria;
vii. A workshop was held at ECOWAS Abuja in 2008 by DIRECTION AFRICA in collaboration with NEPAD Nigeria on Tourism and sponsored by NEPAD Nigeria;
viii. A sensitization workshop was organized to address one of the challenges of Tourism tagged ‘Easing entry formalities of issuance of Visa to potential Tourists/Visitors to Nigeria’ held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on 10th December, 2009.
The workshop was organized to examine the Nigeria visa policy friendliness, availability of tourist visa category and removing cumbersome visa procedures, these have effect of stimulating growth in the economy.

The recommendations of the communiqué include the following:

(i) It was noted that the costs of visas are increased due to handling charges by other agencies involved in the issuance; however, government should ensure that visa fees are harmonized.
(ii) Relaxing of stringent conditions and protocols on issuance of visa by our Foreign missions abroad.
(iii) Efforts should be made to accelerate the improvement in all infrastructural facilities particularly to Tourism site, the air travel industries, hotels, rural access, roads and related activities.
(iv) Capacity building for all stakeholders in the industry in order to be able to receive tourists/visitors.
(v) The Central Bank of Nigeria should be advised to take a second look at the rules and regulation for foreign exchange transactions policy for tourist.
(vi) The Federal Government of Nigeria should do more trade liberalization especially in the area of tariff reductions to enable tourism thrive in Nigeria.
(vii) For sustainable tourism, Nigeria should implement the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Sustainable Tourism in the context of Agenda 21.
(viii) The financial regulators must begin to focus on tourism in the area of currency exchange policies and payment systems.
(ix) In order not to stall tourism, continuous review of foreign exchange liberalization policies should be pursued.
(x) Emphasized the need for the streamlining of the security agencies at the airports in the country.
(xi) It was resolved that synergy between NEPAD and Tourism Associations should be enhanced.
(xii) There is need to have the Nigeria Immigration Service personnel in all our missions abroad.

In conclusion, a number of African countries, including Mozambique, Ethiopia and Kenya have simplified entry formalities and liberalized currency control to encourage tourist visits. Dubai visas are processed over the internet stamped at point of entry to encourage visitors. The advocacy centres on replication in Nigeria.

NEPAD Tourism Team

At the continental level, the Programme is led by African Ministers of Tourism, who meet annually under the World Tourism Organization (WTO) Commission for Africa (CAF).
The Programmes/Projects replication at the country levels such as Nigeria is handled by the Desk Officer’s (NEPAD Tourism) in order to facilitate Tourism promotion and socio-economic development.