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Corporate Travellers Navigate Challenges in Return to Africa hero image

Corporate Travellers Navigate Challenges in Return to Africa

Corporate travellers, including mining companies, are confronted with security and COVID issues as they return to Africa to expand existing operations or seek new opportunities.

We recently sat down with Peter Muller, our International Board Director for Australia, New Zealand, and Africa, and Pam Kitching, our Managing Director for Africa, to discuss the challenges of returning to Africa and how to best navigate these issues.

The Challenges

All travellers to Africa need to be aware of the vast differences between the countries, including COVID requirements, languages spoken and security challenges.

Countries experiencing improved travel included South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia Zimbabwe, and Mozambique in Southern Africa; Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan and Mauritius in Eastern Africa; Senegal in Western Africa; Egypt in North Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa.

However, moving personnel in Africa remains difficult. Only about 70% of pre-COVID flights have resumed, with Central African flights still extremely limited and expensive.

Many mining companies focused on West Africa, but countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger are high-security zones with ongoing internal conflict. Furthermore, COVID requirements differed significantly across Africa, with Central African countries, as well as Angola and Rwanda, still requiring full PCR tests.

The uncertainties and travel restriction has seen corporate travellers turn to TMCs to help them negotiate the challenges in various regions.

“Leaving travellers to make their own arrangements on any aspect once they arrived in the country is not an option. We need to make sure they are informed and protected 24/7 to navigate the complex nature of travelling to Africa”

Pam Kitching, Managing Director Africa

ATPI's Solution

Travellers are looking for more detail regarding COVID regulations and general health and vaccination requirements, intensive itinerary planning, transfers, accommodation and more detail about accommodation facilities, including medical facilities and duty of care requirements.

ATPI can ease the burden by providing assistance in all these areas.

“Travel Consultants are no longer just bookers of flights and accommodation. We have to be logistical experts, needing to consider border, health and airline restrictions for not only mainstream destinations, but hundreds of countries around the world. And those rules are constantly changing”

Peter Muller, International Board Director

ATPI have recognised the unique challenges of doing business in Africa and developed our African Gateway, which tailors travel solutions to clients’ needs.

Africa Gateway

ATPI specialises in corporate travel in Africa via our Africa gateway travel solution, which combines sector-specific experience with on-the-ground knowledge to provide clients with safe and secure travel, guaranteed compliance for every journey, and efficient invoicing and payment.

"Africa is frequently referred to as a single location. The reality is that each country has its own geography, history, politics, policies, and regulations, as well as cultural nuances, all of which can cause problems for travellers."

Peter Muller, International Board Director

Our knowledge of the continent allows us to understand and solve a wide range of problems, including managing safe and secure travel within Nigeria, where violent crime and kidnapping are common; facilitating travel to and from the Congo Republic, where there are currently no non-EU banned airlines operating; and negotiating a variety of localisation policies that vary by country.

Furthermore, volatile political climates and new threats have the potential to escalate extremely quickly, so receiving reports from a local travel team who can monitor situations as they develop, as well as offering support and consultancy to develop a successful duty of care programme, is critical.

The gateway network serves 28 countries frequented by mining and oil and gas companies, with 10 additional countries of interest to be added by the end of 2022 and into 2023.

Find more about ATPI’s Africa Gateway here