The Centre for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences held the Round Table “Tourism in Africa: Prospects for Development”. Participants of the round table placed considerable emphasis on the fact that African countries that have committed to developing tourism industry face both old problems - including political instability, high level of crime, visa restrictions, poor transport infrastructure and medical facilities, sanitaryepidemiological risks, - and new challenges such as uneven socio-economic development due to the relatively narrow geographic scope of tourist flows, the growing number of terrorist attacks against tourists, adverse and often irreversible environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
Much attention was paid to the rapid development of intracontinental tourism in Africa, which has become an influential new trend that may alter the trajectory of this industry and have wider socio-political repercussions, facilitate economic and even political integration. It was generally agreed that tourists are quite sensitive to security threats, though, with regard to terrorism, which is a low-probability risk, particular financial incentives and public relations campaigns may drastically reduce its temporal impact.
Another major theme was the up-trend in niche tourist markets in Africa such as genealogical, agricultural, medical and luxury tourism. While the absolute contribution of these forms of tourism to the overall turnover remains meager, various countries have seen rapid growth in some of these sectors. Most participants agreed that the continent has vast potential of tourism, which remains unrealized due to the lack of corresponding government policies and insufficient financial backing.
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