Africa Tourism Generated $43.6b Revenue In 2014—AfDB
…Received 65.3m Int’l Tourists
…Says Nigeria ,Others Greatest Beneficiaries Of Hotel Expansion
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said that tourism in Africa generated $43.6 billion revenue and received a total of 65.3 million international tourists in 2014.
This is just as the report disclosed that Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco are the greatest beneficiaries from the expansion of hotel chains and the corresponding increase in the number of available rooms.
AfDB revealed these figures in its publication; The Africa Tourism Monitor; an annual report on the tourism industry in Africa jointly published by the bank, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA).
The report, which offered a comprehensive overview of the tourism sector in Africa, focusing on both opportunities and challenges contained facts, figures and contributions from key tourism players across the continent, with tour operators, experts and industry representatives shedding light on key issues via a series of case studies.
One of the key findings according to the report titled, “Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential” is that the tourism sector in Africa is growing.
The report stated that in 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent and that about 200,000 more than in 2013.
The report recalled that in 1990, Africa welcomed just 17.4 million visitors from abroad and that the sector has quadrupled in size in less than 15 years.
The influx of tourists, the report said means more money for the continent and that in 2014, Africa recorded $43.6 billion in revenue, adding that according to the UK’s World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the international tourism sector now accounts for 8.1 per cent of Africa’s total Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
The report added that since more tourists also mean more jobs in the continent, there are about 20 million people working directly or indirectly for the tourism industry, adding that what this means is that the sector accounts for 7.1 per cent of all the jobs in Africa.
The AfDB report listed the jobs supported by the sector to include guides, hotel staff, interpreters, aviation staff and small businesses and that the economic impact of tourism extends beyond job creation.
According to AfDB, “The hospitality sector is experiencing particularly rapid growth and is expanding into new countries such as Mauritania, which have, until now, remained largely on the fringes.”
“It is Sub-Saharan Africa, rather than North Africa, that is benefiting most from the expansion of hotel chains and the corresponding increase in the number of available rooms. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, comes top of the rankings in this respect, followed by Egypt and Morocco. However, the biggest hotel development project in Sub-Saharan Africa can be found in Equatorial Guinea, in the Grand Hotel Oyala Kempinski, which, when complete, will feature 451 rooms.” the report said
Africa, the report said boasts of rich variety of attractions that attracts tourists from all parts of the world, stressing that the continent also has a wealth of archaeological sites and historic monuments such as pyramids in Egypt, Ethiopia cave churches, South Africa’s Robben Island, Gorée Island in Senegal, cave paintings in Algeria and Botswana’s Tsodilo
The Africa Tourism Monitor added that the continent is also a place with stunning landscapes and scenery, boasting attractions such as Victoria Falls, the Sahara, Namib and Kalahari deserts, picturesque coastlines, mountains, plains, tropical rainforests and bush ecosystems; home to exceptional plants and wildlife and flourishing small businesses.
The report stated that recent years have seen the launch of numerous initiatives, across the continent to attract more tourists and that the recent simplifications to the visa system and regional cooperation mechanisms, including the introduction of the e-visa and the single visa scheme, enabling tourists to visit all Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states using just one visa.
Other initiatives that have led to influx of tourists according to the report include the introduction of “KAZA” (Kavango Zambezi);a common tourist visa developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe and the single visa covering three countries; Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda launched by the East African Community (EAC) in February 2014.
These visa simplification schemes and initiatives, the AfDB report titled, “Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential” stated could boost tourism revenue and job creation by between 5 per cent and 25 per cent.