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Imagine one visa for the whole of Africa

Oct 31 2014 14:52
Carin Smith
Flic en Flac (Mauritius) – The impact of creating one visa for the whole of Africa could be enormous for the continent’s tourism industry, Thulani Nzima, CEO of SA Tourism said on Friday at the 44th annual general meeting of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (Aasa).

“We are about delivering tourism experiences, which in turn can create jobs and lead to economic growth. The aviation industry must support this goal,” said Nzima.

“The challenge, in my view, is that we must sell the message correctly: That tourism and aviation are catalysts to generate economic activity and more. Then politicians will listen when they hear about the impact on job creation and economic activity.”

He said there are plenty of policies in Africa aimed at achieving these goals, but the challenge lies in implementing them.

Zakhile Twala, deputy director general of the SA department of transport’s civil aviation division, said he does not think it will be possible to create one airline for the whole of the Southern African region, but he certainly thinks more co-operation among airlines in the region is possible.

Erik Venter, acting chair of Aasa said to him the crux of the problem lies in government intervention.

“When airlines are left to meet their own missions, they will find a way, but the problem comes when airlines are expected to meet a national agenda,” said Venter.

Thabani Mthiyane, managing director of ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services), said there are examples of national airlines achieving sustainability – like Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyan Airlines.

“This is because these airlines are able to meet the essence of their mission, while being state owned,” he said.
Venter said the aviation industry can always try to influence policy.

“There is always pressure to move things in the right direction. Government is typically a big slow moving entity – you have to deal with minister after minister after minister, but we just have to keep the pressure on and use every opportunity available,” said Venter.

“As long as everyone keeps the pressure on in Africa, it will help.”

Nzima spoke to 702 recently about tourism in South Africa.

Listen:



For Nzima, it is not all about government, though.

“Let us have the lobbying activity aligned behind a common goal. Let us focus on small things – for instance, why is it taking so long to have a common visa – even for the SADC region?” he asked.

For Mthiyane it is important to commercialise entities so that there can rather be a board which can take relevant decisions.

For Twala, one cannot keep on hammering on the aviation safety record in Africa.
“We have to focus on safety in Africa. We also need the co-operation of African airlines to protect our African market,” said Twala.
 

sa tourism  |  tourism  |  aviation industry
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