Silver lining for Africa’s travel industry – New Telegraph



COVID-19 continues to be less of an issue for those who haven’t booked or taken a trip recently. The influence of COVID-19 on the decision not to travel is steadily decreasing, as confirmed and documented by data on the number of travelers to Africa. Another factor such as the lack of air connectivity in the African continent makes the cost of travel more expensive to some countries in the continent.

Additional costs such as airport security payments levied on inbound and outbound passengers are an important determining factor, especially for leisure travellers. Countries should be aware of cheaper destinations offering similar products at cheaper prices and less challenges, with connecting flights. in July 2022, the influence of covid-19 is now 12%. With most countries around the world requiring fewer and fewer restrictions on COVID-19 and mask protocols, international travel has continued to grow. Location and value for money are the main drivers for choosing the travel destination.

The importance of value for money increased in July 2022, as documented by hotel experts STR and PKF. Value for money is a much more important factor when choosing budget hotels. In the case of The Gambia, which practices package holidays, value for money becomes more important. Three important points to note in such a market:

* Cape Verde, Morocco, Algeria, Dakar, Accra and Egypt all guarantee more attractions and accessibility than The Gambia and offer a similar climate during the peak winter season for European tourists. *They all offer more hotels from international brands and therefore encourage more travelers attracted to well-known brands that offer familiarity and loyalty programs. International brands also provide travelers with confidence and normalcy. *Niger, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Bangui, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo and Nigeria top the list of African countries with high airport taxes.

*These airport taxes are as high as some European countries which have encountered strong resistance from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). While the average amount of taxes and fees paid by passengers in Africa is $64, passengers are charged $30.23 in Europe and $29.65 in the Middle East despite the fact that traffic is much higher in these regions.

While other African destinations are enjoying a return to pre-COVID-19 tourist numbers, the reality remains that The Gambia is experiencing its longest period of low to near-zero occupancy of international travellers. The industry is a significant contributor to The Gambia’s economy, youth employment and the country’s image to compete as a travel destination for international tourists. What is most needed now is a review of strategies between authorities and stakeholders. Promises of a record number of travelers every year without proof of data can no longer be accepted.

A country’s ability to pull a high volume does not depend on its size. We will use the largest; Nigeria and Cape Verde, the smaller ones as examples to illustrate the number of travelers competing with The Gambia for tourists. Destination occupancy reaching 2019 levels before covid 19

Casablanca 69%
Marrakesh 72%
Dakar 100%
Accra 88%
Abidjan 80%
Tunisia 68%
Cairo 90%
Lagos 113%

It should not be assumed that destinations may be compromising their ADR to attract high volume. This is not the case as shown below. The hotels are still era and in fact in some cases higher. The reality remains that travelers go to these countries in large numbers and no matter what; they are doing well and we must imitate them. What comes to mind first is the immediate stop to airport security fees. The Gambia has no excuse not to attract numbers, the countries offer some of the best hotels in the region at a much lower ADR. We are also among, if not the best hospitality service culture in Africa. The Gambia has long been known for its hospitality and The Gambia Hospitality School produces some of the best trained workers, evidence of the desire of many countries to employ Gambian workers in the hospitality industry. ADR in USD ($) by destinations above ADR in USD ($) by destinations above

Casablanca $98
Marrakesh $147
Dakar $111
Accra $137
Abidjan $99
Tunisia $120
Cairo $127

The above information has been thoroughly researched and data confirming traveler volume and destination performance can easily be viewed by reputable international partners such as travel experts PKF and STR. The reason for this article should not be taken as a criticism of The Gambia’s knowledgeable tourism watchdogs, but rather as a wake-up call from a fellow citizen to highlight the challenges currently facing the beloved hospitality industry that we all love.

*Arafang Saine, is a Gambian hotel operator based in Freetown, Sierra Leone


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