Somalia could give its Eastern Africa neighbors a run for their money in tourism business if its internal conflict and piracy problems are contained, a UN report on regional sustainable tourism shows.
The report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa titled a study on the challenges and opportunities for tourism development says the country has the largest coastal belt in Africa, architectural heritage and beautiful pristine beaches that are great for tourism.
“Somalia tourism also includes the landmark of Shanghai old city. Presently controlled by the Somali Federal Government, the city is known for its scenic beauty and the old architectural heritage,” states the report in part. “Another most sought after sightseeing spot in Somalia tourism is the Sinbusi beach, which is situated about five kilometres away from the city of Merca.”
The report lists some of the key untapped tourism business opportunities like eco-tourism, culture and cruise; expansion of air and water transportation; fairly modern and affordable ICT infrastructure.
Relative stability in Somaliland and Puntland have also been listed as major entry areas in the exploitation of Somalia’s tourism business.
By virtue of offering similar tourist attractions, the report recommends a unified approach to
Eastern Africa’s tourism development under the umbrella of a regional integration. It further suggests the development of of an Eastern Africa tourism master plan.
Adoption of an open skies policy in which even low budget airlines can easily operate flights within the region’s c
ountries and adoption of a single tourist visa have also been proposed to drive growth for the sector. “This (single tourist visa) approach will enable free movement of tourists within the region.
This is expected to be beneficial to new destinations in East Africa as they could leverage on the markets of the more mature destinations,” the report says.
Kenya which mostly markets itself as a safari and beach destination has faced fierce competition from its East African neighbours Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda as a result of some cases of insecurity.
Tanzania and Uganda were even named as among the top 45 places to visit in the world in 2012 whereas Kenya was missing from the ranking despite having almost similar attractions.
Somali once was one of the best popular tourism destination called “THE WHITE PEARL OF INDIAN OCEAN” Mogadishu city, but for now the country is recovering after two decades of civil-war.
The most interented in tourist to prefer to know are the war between US forces and Aidid 1993, where three helicopters Black Hawk downed! and Mogadishu Mile.
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