The pandemic and the lockdown measures implemented to mitigate its spread, have hit the tourism sector the hardest; however, there is an opportunity for African countries to better promote their tourism attractions and grow their tourism sectors.
This was indicated by speakers at the Africa Brand Day Summit on October 7.
African Tourism Board Amman, Jordan patron Dr Talib Rifai said that, to promote Africa and its image, positive stories from the continent needed to be told.
He also noted that the only way to dispel misconceptions of Africa, and to get a proper sense of the place, was for people to visit and interact.
He urged countries on the continent to make an effort to treat regional and local tourists with the same respect and importance as international tourists.
With the pandemic, Rifai said that this offered a golden opportunity to revive domestic tourism on the continent and to use it as a means of social and economic improvement, rather than looking to international tourism as the solution.
Therefore, he said that, when Africa is ready to open up to international tourism again, it could offer an improved, different Africa for these visitors.
Speaking from Kenya, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba said the aim of the Africa Brand Day Summit was for the continent to rebrand itself, to release itself from the derogatory names and perceptions of the rest of the world and to tell its own stories.
He also called for a focus on local tourism in order to prevent reliance on international tourism.