TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- Tourism has been one of the areas in which African nations have been collaborating with Caribbean nations in recent years. As a result of historical and cultural ties between African and Caribbean people, the African Tourism Board (ATB) has now announced that it is establishing travel connections between these two continents.
Mr. Cuthbert Ncube, Executive President of the African Tourism Board, stated during the recently concluded “Global Tourism Resilience Conference” in Jamaica that tourism should serve as a bridge between Africa and the Caribbean.
Africa, Jamaica, and the Caribbean nations should be able to easily travel between each other through tourism, according to the African Tourism Board.
Demand for collaboration on the rise
A number of initiatives have been taken to strengthen trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean. Due to cultural, historical, and economic factors, African nations have increased their cooperation with Caribbean nations over the past few years.
African Export-Import Bank recently announced that it would open a branch in Barbados and pledged USD$1.5 billion to advance a Caribbean trade alliance.
Caribbean nations also demonstrated similar eagerness. Last September, the Caribbean hosted the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF).
A major goal of the Africa Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) was to encourage investment in industries such as manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. A key goal of the forum was to reduce trade barriers between Africa and the Caribbean and to promote the formation of new business alliances.
Their mutual cooperation appears to be deepening.
Opportunities and needs
It is no secret that the Caribbean and Africa share a great deal of history. Many Caribbean nations are home to descendants of Africans who were forced into slavery during the transatlantic slave trade, which lasted for more than 400 years. Thus, African culture greatly influences Caribbean music, dance, religion, cuisine, and languages.
There are particular strongholds of African culture in the Caribbean islands of Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica, where African-derived religions like Vodou, Santeria, and Rastafarianism are widely practiced. In these religions, indigenous African spiritual practices blend with Christianity and other worldviews brought by European colonizers.
Before the global COVID-19 pandemic, Africa was the tourist destination with the fastest rate of growth, and by creating a better strategy and improving air connectivity between Africa, the Caribbean, and other global tourist markets, a new synergy is required to rectify the situation.
As a result of the Pandemic, travel to Africa and the Caribbean has been severely curtailed. Thus, revivals are becoming increasingly popular.
Due to shoddy communications infrastructure, a lack of direct flights, and expensive travel and communication costs, the two regions have difficulty connecting despite a shared history and culture.
The relationship between Africa and the Caribbean can reach its full potential through improved air links, digital connectivity, and infrastructure spending.