African Ministers of Tourism Discuss Actions to Mitigate Impact of COVID-19

The African Union Ministers responsible for Tourism held a meeting by Video conference on the 21st April 2020 on the invitation of H.E Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at African Union Commission.

The meeting was chaired by H.E. Joang Molapo, the Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Lesotho and chair of the Tourism Sub-Committee. The following members of the Bureau participated in the virtual meeting: H.E. Khaled al-Anany, Minister of Tourism, 1st Vice-president Arab Republic of Egypt H.E. Yves Bunkulu Zola, Minister of DRC, 2nd Vice-Chair and Representative of Hon Minister of Somalia in his capacity as 3rd Vice-Chair, Representative of Hon Minister of Tourism of Togo in his capacity as Rapporteur and H.E. Mmamuloko Kubayi, Minister of Tourism of South Africa in her capacity of the African Union Chairmanship. Also in attendance were H.E Najib Bala, Cabinet Secretary of Tourism of Kenya and H.E Ahmed Botto, Minister of Tourism of Niger.

The objective of this meeting was to discuss the urgent actions to support the continental strategy on COVID-19 pandemic as a way to implement the recommendations of the AU Heads of State and Government held on 3rd April 2020 by Video Conference. The second objective was to discuss the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the tourism sector, propose urgent mitigation measures and chart on way forward.

The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid expressed her gratitude to the Hon. Ministers for honouring the invitation and further highlighted the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 to African tourism including the important losses of jobs related to tourism services due to the grounding of aircrafts closure of airports and air transport related services, and complete shutdown of important public transport services.

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She appealed to the Hon.Ministers to propose relief measures to help the industry recover immediately once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained.

The bureau members underscored that the COVID-19 pandemic challenges offer an opportunity to our continent to deploy rapid, strong and lasting responses to create a strong African Tourism Industry post COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bureau strongly reaffirmed their resolution to set up immediately a high level Task Force comprised of both Public and private sector and reporting to the Bureau, with a mandate to propose appropriate measures that will help the African tourism industry to recover the devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministers responsible for Tourism thanked the African Union Commission and its partners for initiating this high-level dialogue of the Tourism industry and committed to support the on-going process to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in close collaboration with all the stakeholders.