Fair Trade Tourism has been commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the leading German agency for international cooperation, to conduct a study on the opportunities and constraints for increased cross-border tourism in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The main findings and recommendations of the study will be presented in Durban on 7 May 2015 at the 4th Annual Conference of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa (Alliance) in the run-up to INDABA.
The primary objective of the study is to demonstrate the economic opportunities from regional integration in the tourism sector and how existing barriers can be overcome. The analysis identified issues to improve the competitiveness of tourism in SADC countries and the region overall. For this purpose a survey was sent to more than 6 000 tourism stakeholders in the region, both public and private. The respondents identified a lack of marketing of the region, insufficient support of cross-border regions and inadequate investments in infrastructure and attractions as major barriers.
It was mentioned that better training and knowledge building of both public officials and private sector operators would significantly improve the competitiveness and the value of the tourism products and services. Furthermore, regional agreements with regard to the movement of people and for vehicles crossing the border need to be developed and established to facilitate regional travel.
The study further identifies some areas in the region with a high potential for cross-border tourism such as improving access to SADC tourist destinations, expanding the average length of stay and expenditure of tourists, improving conservation through tourism in National Parks and TFCAs, introducing impact assessments on tourism-related government regulations and developing new regional cross-border itineraries.
Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has supported the implementation of the SADC integration agenda since 1985. On behalf of BMZ, GIZ works closely with the SADC Secretariat to promote economic Integration and trade within the region.