Africa tourism sector growth rate second globally

Tourists at a national park in South Africa. PHOTO/COURTESY:

Africa’s travel and tourism sector is the second fastest growing in the world behind the Asia Pacific region, the Jumia Hospitality Report 2019 Africa has revealed.

According to the report, the third of its kind, the continent’s tourism sector grew by a rate of 5.6 percent in 2018 against a 3.9 percent global average growth rate. The report similarly revealed that the continent was visited by 67 million international tourists in the period under review up from 63 million in 2017. The seven percent increase has been credited to the affordability and ease of travel within the continent with spending among domestic travellers accounting for 56 percent as compared to 44 percent international expenditure.

According to Estelle Verdier – Jumia’s Head of Travel- enactment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement will further enhance domestic tourism.

“To realize the full potential gains will require cooperation from all industry players. Governments have to be willing to eliminate visa requirements for African nationals traveling to their countries. Ministries and other responsible partner organizations should create campaigns that will promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travellers. At Jumia, we will continue to offer diversified products at affordable prices including resident rates for regional travelers booking through our platform,” Ms. Verdier said during the official release of the annual report at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, ahead of the 2019 World Tourism Day.

The report also revealed that Africa’s passenger traffic increased from 88.5 million in 2017 to 92 million in 2018. Despite the 5.5 percent increase in passenger traffic, the continent’s share of tourists worldwide dropped marginally to 2.1 percent up from 2.2 percent in 2017. This was attributed to increased competition from regions such as Asia Pacific. Africa’s share is however predicted to grow by 4.9 percent annually over the next 20 years.

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