Global bodies launch appeal on behalf of Africa’s tourism sector
Situation is now critical and temporary support to the tune of US$10-billion is needed to support tourism businesses across the continent.
Five international air transport and tourism bodies have launched an appeal to financial institutions, country development partners and global donors to support Africa’s travel and tourism industry. The sector is estimated to employ more than 24-million people.
According to a statement released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in Geneva on Thursday 7 May, without urgent funding the COVID-19 crisis could see a collapse of the sector in Africa.
Tourism is estimated to contribute US$169-billion to the continent’s economy. This represents 7.1% of Africa’s GDP.
Apart from the WTTC, a host of major global bodies have joined in the call and put their names to the statement. These are: International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).
Industry needs US$10-billion in relief assistance
The assistance they have asked for includes:
- US$10-billion in relief to support the industry and help protect the livelihoods of those it supports directly and indirectly;
- Access to as much grant-type financing and cash-flow assistance as possible to inject liquidity and provide targeted support to severely impacted countries;
- Financial measures that can help minimise disruptions to much-needed credit and liquidity for businesses. This includes the deferral of existing financial obligations or loan repayments; and,
- Ensuring that all funds flow down immediately to save the businesses that need them urgently, with minimal application processes and without impediment from normal lending considerations such as creditworthiness.
Governments are trying to assist, but lack resources
“Some African governments are trying to provide targeted and temporary support for hard-hit sectors such as travel and tourism,” the statement says. “However, many countries lack the necessary resources to help the industry and these livelihoods through this crisis.
“The situation is now critical. Airlines, hotels, guesthouses, lodges, restaurants, meeting venues and related businesses face mounting losses. Typically, travel and tourism comprises 80% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To preserve cash, many have already begun laying off or placing staff on unpaid leave.”