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.
The City of Cape Town’s transport and development plans for the South Peninsula, which is expected to get at least 2 000 new residential units in the next few years, is based on a “flawed” road impact study, the planning portfolio committee has warned.
And while it would take about R40 million for the initial upgrade of Ou Kaapseweg and Kommetjie Road to keep pace with proposed developments, the city has only allocated R4m in this financial year.
Councillor Simon Liell-Cock said during a meeting of the spatial planning, environment and land use portfolio committee: “The community can see that the developers and city planners are following a scorched earth policy that will bring the tourist economy to a standstill. We need a detailed report for the whole of the deep south. The money that has been set aside (for upgrades) is not enough.”
He said the transport assessment that formed part of the 2005 Bulk Infrastructure Study looking at the development scenario for the Kommetjie and Sun Valley region until 2028, indicated that it would cost about R42m for the initial road upgrades needed.
Concerned residents have already raised red flags about developments in the area, and there are appeals pending against approvals for at least two projects – Wireless 1 and 2 in Kommetjie.
The Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA) has also lodged its intention to appeal the approval of Protea Ridge, which will bring just over 100 residential units into the area.
Liell-Cock said the 2005 transport impact assessment, that was revised in 2013, had fundamental flaws.
The study did not factor in other traffic sources, such as the growing number of cars coming from Masiphumelele and other parts of the south. It did not consider the fact that Chapman’s Peak, as a major route, was not always open to traffic.
Tony Viera, manager of infrastructure management and investment for the city’s transport directorate, made a short verbal presentation to the committee about the state of the road upgrades and transport plans for the South Peninsula.
Councillor Jerimia Thuynsma, of the ANC, said transport was a concern, seeing that development applications were coming in “thick and fast”.
Viera admitted that the transport impact study was limited to the Kommetjie area and needed to be revised. But he said R4m had been allocated for road upgrades in the current financial year, R1m in 2016 and R5m for future years.
Following the objections to the 2005 and 2013 traffic studies referred to in the assessment reports for Wireless 1 and 2 developments, and an independent peer review by Sturgeon Consulting that found that the study area did not deal with the traffic impact of neighbouring areas such as Glencairn and Fish Hoek, the department of environmental affairs and planning included the following condition in its development approvals: “The section of Kommetjie Main Road between Ou Kaapseweg and Capri Drive and the section of Ou Kaapseweg between Kommetjie Main Road and Buller Louw Drive must be upgraded to a four-lane dual carriageway to accommodate the revised 2018 development scenario.”
But Bruce Campbell, of the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, later told the Cape Argus that the revisions to the transport plan did not include all the units approved and pending outside the study area.
“There is no doubt that the traffic generated from these developments will exacerbate the traffic congestion from the Glencairn/ Kommetjie Road intersection en route to Ou Kaapseweg.”
The association has argued that the traffic study was done by the developers’ consultants, and was therefore being used to justify the developments.
He said Sturgeon’s report, which found that the traffic impact assessment report considered as part of the developers’ applications was unreliable, was still not being addressed in current applications.
The “minimal” upgrades being proposed would need to be funded in part by the developers, and there was still no clarity on the anticipated costs of all the developments, and these would be financed.
The portfolio committee agreed that a detailed report of traffic scenarios in the deep south was needed before more development applications were considered.
Source: IOL News
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