It was a visit long overdue as ATB team descended on the headquarters of the Africa’s highest organ in Addis Ababa, AU Commission where mutual deliberations were voiced by the ATB team which met with H.E Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Cultural Affairs recently while on a working visit to Ethiopia.
from the onset, the Commissioner applauded the role ATB has been playing in promoting and advocating for a well coordinated destination-marketing of Africa’s unique diversified culture and heritage spearheaded from the tourism departure point of view.
The team also raised concerns over the non roll out of the African Union Passports by the member states after being ratified by the AU Commission.
The main objectives of the AU is to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonization that includes visa Issuance and border restrictions that disable Africans from free travel access which impedes promotion of unity within the continent, thereby intensifying cooperation for development, guided by its vision of an integrated prosperous Africa that prioritises its own citizens.
Other areas of concern were also raised that are hindrances for the African community to fully enjoy and participate in the mainstream tourism, these included visa facilitation which has been moving at a very slow pace inspite of some other member states having implemented visa on arrival regime and some regional blocks having introduced regional free visa access which is however commendable.
Emphasis was also laid on having a single African visa system but majorly the need to expedite action on the roll out of the African passports by all member states as commissioned by AU.
Connectivity also remains an hindrance and stumbling block for easy implementation of the free trade area treaty among AU member states.
The Commissioner however took an undertaking to collaborate with ATB in its advocacy for a seamless access that will enable tourism stakeholders to participate fully in the eco-tourism economies and in appreciating the regional market segment, by promoting Africa’s uniqueness both in culture and heritage as the continent prides herself with so much at her disposal.
ATB on its side promised to jointly facilitate an enabling working synergy and collaboration with the AU, where both parties have agreed to collaborate on a shared vision by promoting free movement that promotes cultural diversity and guarantees an open Africa for Africans.