Next year may be a difficult one for the economy, with fears of Ebola, crime and terrorism keeping tourists away.
According to a survey by the GeoBranding Centre, in partnership with AIG Travel, travellers regard southern Africa to be as risky as Mexico and Central America.
Titled the Global Anxiety Audit, the report found “one in four global travellers ditched travel plans over safety concerns in 2015; Africa suffers most, with 53 percent of leisure tourists unwilling to go due to worries about personal safety and 46 percent fearful of diseases like Ebola”.
This is despite the fact Ebola has been eradicated and the outbreak affected only a handful of countries on the continent. Security is not much of a concern for American tourists. They, however, need compelling reasons to travel.
“A study of 2 000 travellers reveals US tourists are less concerned with crime and security in Africa versus those from Germany and the UK, but Americans are more in need of a ‘real reason to go’.”
All is not lost, though, as some travellers showed a desire to visit the southern tip of the continent.
The report states: “A notable 20 percent would like to visit southern Africa; word-of-mouth endorsements remain very positive about Africa overall; and worries about costs and flights are dwindling, making safety reassurance, compelling offers and unique experiences key to attracting visitors.”
Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO of the African Travel and Tourism Association, said: “Africa has the best tourism product in the world, and for more reasons than people may think.
“We know of nowhere else in the world where you can get a good meal with wine for such a low cost as you can in South Africa; it is untouchable.”
Director-General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, has described tourism as the greatest employer. She said the corporation under her would ensure practical development and promotion of domestic tourism, which will propel job creation, develop the nation’s economy and raise social awareness on cultural preservation and environmental protection.
Mbanefo spoke at this year’s World Tourism Day, with the theme, 1 Billion Tourists, 1 Billion Opportunities, held in Enugu State which underscored the role of tourism sector as a valuable and sustainable source of livelihood for millions of people.
“Nigeria has a better advantage over so many other countries to benefit from tourism. We have the advantage of population. Tourism contributes 10% to the global GDP but as at now, Nigerian is not fully benefiting from tourism like other countries. For instance, 4,333,000 tourism visited Nigeria in 2013, which contributed about 4 per cent to our GDP, while tourism contributes 17.7 per cent to the GDP of Gambia; 13 per cent to Egypt; 12 per cent to Kenya; 11.9 per cent to Mexico; 9 per cent to South Africa, and 6 per cent to Cuba.
“We need to know that Nigeria should focus more on tourism as the best alternative to oil, with domestic tourism as the catalyst. I need to emphasise that Nigeria has the best of the ingredient of tourism. We have fascinating tourist sites, enviable cultural festivals, good weather, good and hospitable people. Have you ever wondered why most diplomats, after serving their terms chose to stay back in Nigeria? It is because of the warmth and friendliness of our people, environment and potentials,” she said.
Mbanefo, who emphasised that the potential of tourism in Nigeria is N4billion prayed that government should take privatisation to the next level, which according to her will facilitate further facilitate an enabling environment for tourism to thrive in Nigeria.
The NTDC boss lauded the Enugu State government for making tourism alive in the state, describing the state as a hub of eco-tourism.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs Nkechi Ejele, described tourism as the way forward for Nigeria. She noted that the Ministry is, on a daily basis, intensifying efforts at ensuring the money spinning sector is well developed and promoted in Nigeria, to ensure Nigerians, among the people of other countries, maximally benefit from the potentials of tourism.
The Group Managing Director, Viko Nigeria Group of Companies Limited, Mr Lucky Kanu, expressed the readiness of his company to further support NTDC in promoting domestic tourism, thereby creating more jobs and wealth in Nigeria.
“Our partnership with NTDC could be best described as demonstration of a successful practice of public private partnership in Nigeria, as the partnership has yielded opening of information desks in about six states in Nigeria, while we are working on a new project that will create over 500,000 jobs for the youth in every state of Nigeria,” Kanu said.
Children’s House is a project that is founded on an alternative educational model, offering activities that find solutions to the real problems of the population in the San Andrés Payuca rural community, north-east of Puebla, Mexico. Correspondingly, the school’s curriculum includes instruction in agriculture, farming and building construction, in addition to normal course work. The design for the school – arranged by Fundación la Concepción and self-built by the community – proposes the use of cement-reinforced compacted blocks using readily accessible local earth.
The design of the block with tapered corners permits assembly in a variation of curves based on organic principles. The school will double as a cultural center for the community, offering access to a library, the Internet and the school’s sports fields.
The contemporary model of education is teaching people to relinquish their creative capacities at an early age. The project aspires to evolve from what is essentially an industrial model of education to a model that is based more on organic principles. When a child starts school, they work with many colors and materials; by their last year of school, they are left with only a notebook and a pen. When did the line break? That line, the simplest form of expression is the line in time which represents an individual’s life and each step ahead of them. This school is a line that shall be a life story for each child. Children shall follow this line, which will transcend dimensions and become a wall; after it has traveled a certain way, it will in a sense become space to travel through life that will never restrain you, but will protect you and show you the way.
Progress: Kokokali is a compound word derived from the Nahuatl kokone (children) and kali (house). The project proposes the use of a block especially-designed for this school. This block is a systematic module that is very easy to elaborate. The cinder blocks are fabricated using a mix of concrete, sand and readily-accessible local earth. The design of the block consists of making a minimum variation in curves with different angles for its use on different locations and spatial conditions.
People: The school aims to change the paradigm of education in Mexico’s rural communities, and seeks the participation of all parties involved – from the federal government, to the people in the community. It focuses on the profile of the population, offering activities that find solutions to the real problems of the area. In this school that will be self-built by the community, students will learn about agriculture, farming and building techniques – in addition to the official curriculum.
Planet: The hydrologic design and planning of this school uses passive and highly-efficient mechanisms to connect different uses of water in the local context, maximizing its use and honoring the environment.
Prosperity: The construction of Kokokali will be financed through donations, in addition to support from the government. The school will be economically sustainable. A proportion of the students’ activities in agriculture, livestock management, hydroponics and construction will generate profits ensuring financial viability.
Place: By using the curved block, Kokokali becomes a dynamic non-hierarchical space, which allows flexibility in the program. It responds to the need for a space of equality and trust, this virtue is magnified by classrooms that connect either to indoor gardens or the main square.