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Pet Sins June 2001

Are tourists from non-G8 countries invisible/not worth courting?

A recent news report about tourism in Tunisia talks about how the revolution had reduced tourism there. Likewise, another BBC report discusses how the threat of Somali pirates has impacted tourism in Kenya. In both reports, the tourists are always represented as coming from Europe, the United States and Japan.

Which made me ask the question: Why don't Tunisia and Kenya make any attempt to attract tourists from non-Western countries like China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, other African countries and Latin America? Why is tourism viewed as something only rich white people do?

I see Asians, Africans and Latin Americans travel around Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. And I know you've seen them too around Maastricht and in Liberia. What about the non-Western tourists? Aren't they as important to the tourist industries in Tunisia and Kenya as the Western tourists?

The old stereotype that only Europeans, Americans and Japanese are rich and able to travel is disappearing due to the numbers of tourists traveling to Europe, Middle East and Latin America. Why this insistence on only advertising to Western nations and leaving non-Western countries out of the target market?

As a person of Liberian descent, I hope that when Liberia's Ministry of Tourism is promoting Liberia, they will also lean towards encouraging Chinese, Indian, Malaysians, Lebanese, Emiratis and other African countries to visit, and not focus solely on just promoting itself to Western countries. That's what I would do if I am the Minister of Tourism! ;) Whenever I travel I enjoying taking note of the diversity of tourists around me in the airport :)

Feb 2012