Africa airline industry lost $55b from virus shutdowns
Johannesburg: Africa's travel and tourism industry has lost $55-billion due to the closure of borders to limit the spread of coronavirus, the African Union said Thursday.
On a continent where safaris are a powerful tourist magnet, the sector has been badly hit by lockdowns that shuttered air, land and sea borders.
"The impact is really severe," African Union commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid said at a virtual briefing organised by the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"We are talking here about $55 billion (49 billion euros) lost within three months in a year when we were supposed to see an increase in travel and air transport," she warned. "There are airlines that may not survive COVID-19."
"In Africa tourism is not luxury," she said. "This is our livelihood."
Despite a steady rise in coronavirus cases, countries across Africa are forging ahead with plans to resume air traffic.
A handful of states reopened their borders last week, including Zambia and Sierra Leone. Senegal has announced the resumption of international air travel from July 15. - AFP