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Countries across Africa have been urged to work together to open the continent’s skies in order to maximise the potential of travel and tourism.
The call came from World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill during a speech in South Africa.
He called on African governments to put aside decades of differences and to heed the success of open skies reforms across the world by fully implementing open skies across the continent.
“Africa is a vast continent. The distances between the major cities is so great, with poor trans-continental road and rail networks, that flying is the only realistic way to travel,” he told the World Routes Strategy Summit in Durban.
“The economic potential of tourism in Africa is remarkable. According to our figures it will rival Asia Pacific for growth in the next decade. But for this to materialise or even be exceeded, it needs individual nations to work together on progressively implementing the Yamoussoukro Agreement signed over 25 years ago.”
Scowsill added: “The biggest single opportunity for Africa is to fully liberalise its air travel.
“The role of aviation in creating jobs and driving economic growth is too important to be ignored, particularly when restrained by one ministry’s mandate to protect a national airline.
“The industry requires a coherent aviation policy. It cannot make financial sense for a country to protect one or two companies, at the expense of the economic growth of an entire industry.
“Travel and tourism generates economic growth, jobs and investment. Aviation liberalisation creates more routes, greater competition and lower fares.
“We urge the continent’s leaders to fully liberalise aviation for the potential of our industry to be fully realised.”
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