What Covid-19 Travel Bans Have Done to Tourism in Africa

It's been over 20 months since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Covid-19 as a global health emergency and pandemic. It's estimated that the resulting reductions in travel in 2020 alone wiped U.S.$4.5 trillion from the global tourism economy and cost millions of jobs. In Africa, half of all the people working in tourism lost their jobs, write Alexander Richard Braczkowski and Duan Biggs for The Conversation.

African tourism recovery will depend on the progress made with vaccination rates, not only of international tourists but of the citizens of African countries. Currently, African countries suffer from the highest rates of vaccine inequality anywhere in the world. Addressing this inequity is not only a global ethical issue but will allow for a relaxing of travel restrictions linked to the spread of the coronavirus. Without it, global herd immunity remains out of reach and so does the recovery in tourism that Africa so desperately needs, says Braczkowski and Biggs.

A number of strategies have been tried by different stakeholders to strengthen protected areas and related livelihoods in response to the pandemic. These include: domestic tourism; contactless and virtual tourism; and novel conservation financing such as direct payments for wildlife conservation. Many countries are encouraging residents to travel locally and visit national parks.



Top-left: Fishermen in Mauritius. Top-right: The coastline in Essaouira, Morocco. Bottom-left: Safari in the Serengeti. Bottom-right: A tourist dances along to a cultural song in Ethiopia.

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