By: Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
Eswatini is generally perceived as a transit point by most tourists, which is reflected in the length of time they spend in the kingdom.
International travellers use the kingdom as a stopover destination enroute to other places of interest which results in lower economic returns. This was said by the chairperson of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Eswatini (HOTEAS) Marcus Ward during the commemoration of World Tourism Day held at Sharma House in Ezulwini. “All stakeholders should be working together to change the narrative. We cannot afford to allow this situation to go on. Tourists need to view us as a place they can travel to and spend about 5-6 days. Staying for a night or two does not do us much good,” he said.
He said the longer tourists stay, the better it is for the economy as they spend money on different items including accommodation, fuel, food, curio shops, places of interest, and entertainment. “Eswatini is ranked at 118 out of 140 countries in terms of tourism. This is better than many African countries but is still quite far from Mauritius which sits at 54, and South Africa at 61. This suggests that much needs be improved in Eswatini to enhance the tourism sector,” Ward said.