AfCFTA to aid growth of airlines in Africa, boost tourism
The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) is positioned to aid the growth of airlines in the continent, boost trade and tourism, stakeholders have said.
Air Transport specialist and former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Richard Aisuebeogun said with AfCFTA, it becomes easier for airlines to grow in Africa just like what is obtained in the entire continent of Europe.
Udoh, who spoke ahead of the fourth edition of the National Tourism Transportation Summit slated for 15th to 16th of November, 2021 at the International Conference Centre Abuja, said the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative is another giant step to boost trade and tourism in Africa.
He said: “There is virtually no part of Europe that you cannot fly into from one particular spot because you have airlines crisscrossing the entire continent of Europe. We know that is not the case in Africa. I don’t want to go deep into that. We have talked about it for over 30 years. The challenge of flying across Africa is a major challenge. If we find it as a major challenge to fly across Africa or within Africa via intra-Africa transport system, then, you can imagine how it is going to limit the economic development of the region”.
“We need to have citizens travel cards that enable us to go to South Africa, Banjul, Nairobi, Cairo without any limitations for legitimate reasons to do business that will engender economic growth of Africa and its citizens, business that will create wealth, business that will reduce poverty, business that will reduce unemployment and that is what Africa Continental Free Trade would do and I keep saying it that this can only be successful when we have SAATM to complement, he added.
Former Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nnamdi Udoh, noted that Africa with 1.3 billion potential customers makes the continent’ much more attractive to investment both from within and outside the continent’.
According to him, with Nigeria’s very rich tourism environment is enough to attract Nigeria billions of US Dollars in foreign currency in line with the AfCTA.
He said: “The African Union’s recent actions of putting into place an ACFTA and SAATM are giant steps towards recognizing the over 1.3 billion inhabitants in the continent as one people, one market, one geographical space, and one nation, provided Africans see and reason into this together”.
The National Transportation Tourism Summit and Expo is instituted and convened by the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Tourism, the Federal Ministry of Transportation as well as the Federal Ministry of Aviation as an annual event that focuses attention on the inter-play and connectivity between tourism and transportation.