Africa awaits

I have been traveling throughout South Africa recently, and I believe the New York Times is correct in naming it the top destination for 2014-15.

The people of South Africa should be proud of so many accomplishments, including tourism being up fivefold. Jo’burg is a great business hub. Cape Town has beaches, shopping and a wine region that rivals Napa Valley. And the great natural wonders of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Sabi Sands are not to be missed.

It’s a wonder more Americans aren’t traveling here. I believe the American media does a lot to scare away travelers. Yes, there are some hot spots on the continent, but they are few and far between. And yes, health concerns do exist, but no more than in India or Southeast Asia.

I believe the hotel industry — especially the chains — can do a great deal to educate the American traveler about Africa. I would also encourage African nations to create a more comprehensive marketing strategy for attracting the U.S. customer. There is so much untapped potential in Africa — it reminds me of being in India 15 years ago and China a decade ago.