President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents(NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akpoyiare has lauded South Africa’s efforts at opening up the country for tourism following the ravaging effects of COVID-19 on travel and tourism.
The country is perhaps the only one in Africa that has clearly demonstrated earnest enthusiasm to return the industry to pre-Covid days. So far, the rainbow nation has successfully hosted events such as the Africa Tourism and Travel Summit, Meetings Africa, WTM Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI2022).
The latter drew a significant number of in-person participants even though the host province, KwaZulu-Natal had been severely battered by floods weeks leading up to the event.
Mrs. Akpoyiare who attended ATI 2022 in an interview with VoyagesAfriq, said the depth of resolve shown by South Africa to get tourism back on track is very impressive regardless of Coronavirus setbacks.
“I’d like to congratulate them because in all the African countries, South Africa was the worst hit of the Covid pandemic. They really suffered from it a lot and they were the last country to open up, and I want to say congratulations to South Africa and South African Tourism for the comeback. It is not easy to make such investment, having been affected so badly with Covid,” she stated.
The NANTA President opined that the South Africa has shown that they mean business with tourism with the level of investment made to get their industry back up.
She insisted, “It really shows for me that South African tourism means business. They know the worth of tourism and they have a projection of what tourism should bring back to them. They believe they are going to make much more than what it used to be; hence, the reason why they are making this investment, and it speaks volumes to me. It shows they love tourism and are serious about it.
Despite the losses they have had in the sector, they spend this much to bring the rest of Africa to their country and you can’t be more serious about tourism than that.”
Pledging support for the country, Mrs. Akpoyiare revealed that she would host a NANTA conference in South Africa next year.
“The rest of Africa, including Nigeria is solidly behind you and will support you with everything as much as we can, by bringing events here, by bringing tourists here and encouraging people to come here. I personally will bring a NANTA conference to South Africa next year,” she emphasised.
The said conference, the President disclosed, would have at least 200 delegates in attendance with invitation extended to Ghanaian tour operators and others within the West Africa region.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah