by Naglaa Ghonaim
The African tourism is facing differences between the initial figures, according to reports and expectations of international organisations, and the decline from the point of view of those who are making it in Africa, especially since tourism in African countries does not exceed 4% of the international figures, but for Egypt it has not reached a real rate so far.
At the beginning of this year, Sharm el-Sheikh Governor Major General Khalid Fouda held a special session that hosted the head of the World Tourism Organisation, the Chairman of the Tourism Committee at the Organisation of African Unity and the Minister of Tourism of Zimbabwe and Walter Mzembi, who asserted during the meeting that the volume of tourism coming to Africa does not exceed 4%, which is a very small percentage. In 2020 a tourist boom will occur in Africa, he said, speaking only about tourism which comes to their country and not about the size of tourism leaving it. Actually, it is a very tiny percentage.
Sami Mahmoud, the Head of the Tourism Promotion Authority, said African Tourism coming to Egypt does not exceed 1% of the total percentage, namely from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria as well as countries of North Africa, represented by Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya before the revolution. He pointed out that the current trends towards promoting work with the African side has economic dimensions pertaining to culture between Egypt and Africa and this is done upon political directives. Tourism for this trend will act as the soft power, however, African tourism in Egypt is not expected to be in competition with the other countries exporting tourism, he said.
On the other hand, the African Research and Studies Institute at Cairo University, held an international conference in May, entitled “Tourism in Egypt and Africa” which dealt with the potentials, the reality, the challenges and the strategies on development in Africa. The conference was held in the presence of Ambassador Salaheddin Abdel Sadek, the Head of the State Information Service, Gaber Nassar, the President of University of Cairo, and El Sayed El Husseini, the Head of the Geographical Society. The conference discussed more than 53 research papers and several scientists and professors in this area presided over its sessions. Dr. Magda Amer, the Vice Chairman of the conference, defined the main themes the conference focused on. She started with a historical background on tourism in Africa and reaching elements of tourist attraction, resources and facilities in Africa and their assessment in the light of the patterns of tourism in the continent and the idea of regional integration in the field of tourism and finally the strategies on the development of tourism in Africa.
Meanwhile, Spanish Bloom Consulting Agency ranked Egypt second for Africa and 27 globally in terms of tourism demand over the past year and the first months of this year 2015. According to a report posted on the agency’s website, Bloom-Consulting, South Africa ranked first, followed by Egypt and Morocco in terms of attracting tourism.
South Africa came in first place as the most attractive country for tourists in Africa, followed by Egypt, despite the political events and security problems, while Morocco came in third place.
The agency based its classification on more than 328 million searches on the Internet by tourists from all over the world, as well as information about tourist activities and attractions in addition to how much the country is widespread on social media sites.
The agency noted that South Africa was able to take Egypt’s place as being the most demanded among African countries, in view of the security situation in Egypt and the reduced tourism revenues and weak presence on the Internet, as well as the relatively weak assessment of the economy by the “CBS” group. The agency explained that South Africa benefits from the current situation in Egypt, as well as the good assessment provided by CBS and the good publicity it lead on the Internet.
Kenya and Tanzania obtained the fourth and fifth place respectively, despite their poverty. The agency attributed the success of these two countries to the attraction of tourists to safari and nature tours.
The Comoros and Guinea Bissau came in last place, according to the classification which included 37 countries in Africa.