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Transport infrastructure said to be constraining Africa’s tourism growth

Transport infrastructure and services for intra-continental travel have been cited as a key constraint limiting the growth of tourism in Africa by the 2015 Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report on tourism in Africa.

The report, a publication of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says although many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe and Asia, once visitors reach the continent, they encounter difficulties in intra-Africa travel from East to West, and North to South.

“One of the major challenges to travel in Africa is stringent and restricted air service markets, designed to protect the share held by state-owned air carriers.”

The Yamoussoukro Decision or “Open Skies for Africa” adopted at the start of the millennium to deregulate air services on the continent are yet to be implemented though the latter alone is believed to be capable of creating 155,000 new jobs and contributing $1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP if implemented by only a quarter of African countries.

“Some [African] countries have not signed up to the Yamoussoukro Decision, or have failed to fully ratify it, while others that are signatories have not yet implemented it.”

“Another factor that has curtailed its implementation is that some African countries have entered into Economic Bilateral Partnership Agreements (EBPA) with airlines from other continents, which conflicts with the spirit of the Yamoussoukro Decision,” the report says.

The tourism action plan also launched in 2004 under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has also not been implemented.

Other major challenges to tourism in Africa in 2015 were security issues, especially in North Africa, Mali and Kenya, and the outbreak of Ebola which created “a climate of fear” that spread to many other African countries far away from the source of the outbreak.

The report indicates that, of the 80 countries for which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa.

According to the report, many of Africa’s iconic species – animals that attract tourists from across the globe – are on the brink of extinction; poaching and illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels and authorities need to strengthen their data production in this area.

Overall, the report says the tourism sector in Africa is growing. In 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013.

Additionally, from 13,700 rooms in sub-Saharan Africa’s hotel chain development pipeline in 2011, there are now 49,715 rooms in the development pipeline, with 53 per cent of them in West Africa.

Nigeria leads the continent with an incoming 8,563 rooms in 51 hotels, followed by Egypt with 6,440 rooms in 18 hotels, and Morocco with 5,474 from 31 incoming hotels.

Source: ghanabusinessnews


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City bans cars for a month, doesn’t collapse into chaos

Lots of places close streets to cars for a day, but what happens when you do it for a month?

Could this happen in North America? Take a neighborhood and ban cars from it for a month?

It happened in 2013 in Suwon, South Korea, and it’s happening in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year. It’s the Eco-Mobility World Festival, intended to “mobilize and raise local and international support for ecomobile alternatives to fossil-fuel transport,” and looks like a whole lot of fun. According to the Urban Idea, the Suwon fest was a huge success.
Around 4,300 residents in the neighborhood adopted an ecomobile lifestyle to experience how traveling through integrated, socially inclusive, and healthy transport options can positively change their routines. The residents used a variety of vehicles such as bicycles, trailers for carrying children and goods, tandem bicycles, recumbent bikes, pedelecs (electric assisted bicycles) and velo-taxis.
Anything but a car. And although the festival lasted only a month, the after-effects are still being felt. Adele Peters writes in Fast Company:
After the festival ended, the city also gathered residents for a huge meeting to ask for ideas for more permanent

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changes. The biggest result: The speed limit was cut nearly in half, to about 18 miles per hour. That meant that commuters no longer wanted to use the neighborhood as a shortcut, and traffic started to disappear. Neighbors also decided to eliminate side parking on some major streets — and parking on sidewalks — which helped encourage people to start walking and biking to run errands.

Why a month? According to festival creative director Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, it takes that long for people to really adapt; any less and people can just rearrange their appointments and work around it. “It has to be a month in order to hit people’s daily agenda, so they really experience ecomobility in their daily life.”
Could this happen in North America? It’s unlikely. One of the partners behind the festival is ICLEI, an organization that helps cities and local governments reach sustainability goals — and one that is being banned in city after city in the U.S. for being part of a United Nations’ plot to impose sustainable development. It is often accused of trying to take away peoples cars and force them into tiny apartments.
When Toronto tried closing its streets for a day, the mayor went nuts and said “We have parks for people to walk, for exercise, to do yoga. You don’t have to close down a major street to walk, do yoga — that’s for parks.”
But as Gil Peñalosa of 8-80 cities (a nonprofit organization based in Toronto dedicated to helping cities become more pedestrian- and bike-friendly) notes, we have to break out of this mindset and take back the streets.
Building more roads to solve transport problems is like putting off a fire with gasoline. We should put pedestrians as our priority and question the role of streets. People need to walk, and walking must be best friends with cycling and public transport.
Perhaps that’s the message of Suwon: Cars have their place, but they shouldn’t dominate the city; they should play nice with cyclists and pedestrians. When changes are made that affect daily habits, people adapt. So slow down the cars, promote alternative means of transport — because streets are for people.
Source: mnn

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