The immense popularity of the African travel literature of explorers in the 19th century has hardly left any traces in 20th and 21st century tourism in Africa. Most tourists in Africa are unaware of it or uninformed. African tourism has narrowed down to nature and beach tourism. In tourism product development explorers’ narratives and related places of interest as part of the cultural history have seldom been converted in significant attractions and sites for tourism.
This leads us to several questions:
- Is it possible to reconstruct routes and places described in the explorers’ accounts within the contemporaneous situations?
- How do these routes correspond with traditional trade routes all over Africa?
- To what extent could one turn these reconstructions into responsible niche tourism products (sites, accessibility, existing infrastructure and accommodations, transport), placing these within the wider context of pre- and post- colonial written and oral history of the relevant places and regions?
- What are the benefits and attitudes of local communities related to this kind of cultural history, the possible enhancement of local historical awareness and related small scale tourism development?
- Is it possible to connect effectively these narratives and reconstructions to local, national and international NGO’s, governmental organisations and travel agencies.
- Does a more historical approach to Africa in tourism help to create a more adequate image in the world outside Africa?
In order to find answers to these questions cooperation evolves between academic universities, universities of applied sciences, governmental organisations, NGO’s, travel organisations, entrepreneurs in supporting businisses under the title of FootstepsAfrica enabling research, new perspectives for development as well as public exposure, reconsidering the footsteps of traditional trader and early explorers.