Hanno the Navigator explored Africa hundreds of years before the compass was invented. Arab slave traders started touring Africa when available maps were drawn based on the flat earth paradigm.
The 19th Century saw an influx of outsiders in search of raw materials, slaves and markets. The discovery of Africa by the outside world led to the scramble and partitioning of the continent, thus paving the way for colonialism. Two centuries down the line, Africa is still feeding foreign manufacturing industries with valuable raw materials and consuming their products under questionable trade patterns.
History has exposed illegitimate motives behind early exploration, but today, we encourage modern-day explorers to visit Africa and discover remarkable attractions. The tour of Africa is also a great opportunity to survey lucrative investment opportunities available in the continent.
Tourism sectors in many African economies are thriving as a result of a variety of factors. Morocco and Tunisia benefit from their beautiful coastlines and closer proximity to Europe. In Egypt, tourism is enhanced by accounts of ancient civilization and monumental sites, particularly the pyramids.
South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya among others are known for their wild safari expeditions and sandy beaches. O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the busiest airport in Africa. Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is on the list of the top 10 busiest airports in the continent.
In Rwanda, the ever rising demand for gorilla trekking permits has made this activity the most expensive item on the menu. In addition, conference tourism is gaining momentum. RwandAir is spreading its wings to more and more destinations. Bugesera International Airport, which is still under construction, will cater for the increasing number of international airlines adding Rwanda to the list of their destinations.
With its rich cultural and natural resources, Africa has potential to outpace other regions in attracting tourists. Through effective planning and integrating tourism into their economic agendas, African countries can challenge the tourism giants of this world in a near future.
Violence and political turmoil crippled the tourism industry in the past. With more and more previously war-torn countries moving towards sustainable peace and stability, the future is promising.
Despite positive signs, traveling within Africa is still not seamless. It is more difficult and more expensive to travel within Africa than it is to get here from Europe, America or the Middle East. Massive investment is needed to improve the infrastructure and ease intra-African travel.
Development of internal infrastructure will motivate visitors to tour the continent more widely. Northern Africa has been registering impressive numbers and with a better network of roads, railways and aircraft routes, North Africa inbound visitors will likely reach more destinations farther south of the Mediterranean Sea. Similarly, tourists visiting South Africa will be tempted to consider more attractions north of the country.
When sustainably managed, tourism fuels economic transformation, accelerates reforms, triggers upgrading of the infrastructure and empowers communities. Having realized the role the sector plays in fast-tracking development, Africa has opened its door and rolled a red carpet for a new generation of explorers. Unlike their forefathers, they are development partners.