African nations with strict visa policies are restricting tourist visits
Date: October 04,2017
Time: 2
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African nations with strict visa policies are restricting tourist visits

Thirty-one-year-old Omar Muhudin Abdulle is trying to attract tourists to his hometown, Mogadishu. His company, Visit Mogadishu, arranges for tours to the city’s beaches, markets, and historical landmarks, including the site of the Black Hawk Down crash, in the company of four armed security guards. Tourists are guaranteed fresh fish, since refrigeration is scarce. He hopes that such tours will “improve Mogadishu’s ranking in the eyes of international travelers.”

However, his venture isn’t easy. The U.S. Department of State, among other governments, warns travel to the city, where it says terrorist groups are rampant. For uncommon destinations like Mogadishu, the UNWTO provides services such as technical support and trainings in crisis management to prevent collapse of tourism in the wake of terrorist attacks or natural disasters. The agency also helps countries set up strategic tourism plans, among other efforts.

For many countries, strict visa policies pose an obstacle for tourist visits. In Africa, for example, many of Africa’s regional and strategic hubs have restrictive visa policies, according to the African Development Bank. The continent’s middle-income countries have low visa openness scores and Africa’s small, landlocked, and island states have more open visa policies.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary-General said, “Africa has many natural resources. These are extinguishable. But tourism never runs out.”

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