The travel and tourism segment contributed 8.5% to African GDP in 2018, equivalent to US$ 194.2 billion. This growth record has placed the continent as the second fastest-growing tourism region in the world, second only to the Asia Pacific region. Changes in visa access laws and further improvements in cross-border facilitation are among the causes of this growth. The information comes from a study developed by the Nigerian e-commerce platform Jumia.
56% of trips recorded last year are domestic. However, Africa continues to receive many international tourists, and this number is increasing. In 2018 the African continent received 67 million international tourists registering an increase of more than 7%. 2017 registered 63 million arrivals while 2016 reached the 58 million mark.
Jumia Travel Manager Estelle Verdier notes that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to further increase domestic travel. “To obtain all potential gains, the cooperation of all industry participants will be required. Governments must be willing to eliminate visa requirements for African citizens traveling to their countries, “she says.” Ministries and other responsible partner organizations should create campaigns that promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travelers, she says.
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Visa facilitation in several African countries remains a major impetus for the tourism and aviation industries. A great example is Ethiopia, which with visa relaxation policies combined with an improved regional transport system, made it the fastest growing country in terms of travel on the continent, growing 48.6% in 2018 and moving $ US 7.4 billion.
“Many African government leaders are now committed to making travel between African countries easier and more accessible. An example is the creation of the Visa East Africa program, which allows travelers to apply for a visa online before visiting Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Such collaborations are visionary, ”said Sthembiso Dlamini, acting executive director of South African Tourism.
While Africa’s passenger traffic increased within the continent, Africans’ share of the world market was only 2.1%, slightly below the 2.2% recorded in 2017. The report attributes this trend to high competition from other regions, like the Asia Pacific. However, Africa’s share of the global tourism market is projected to grow by 4.9% annually over the next 20 years.
Africa’s share of the global tourism market is projected to grow by 4.9% annually over the next 20 years
Emirates tops the list of airlines that generate the most revenue in African airspace. The company grossed about $ 837 million in 2018 and operates flights to popular destinations such as Johannesburg, Cairo, and Cape Town. Africa’s most lucrative air route between April 2018 and March 2019 went from Johannesburg to Dubai, generating $ 315.6 million in revenue.
Angola Airlines and South African Airways, two state-owned companies, were the only two African airlines to reach Africa’s top ten highest-revenue airlines in the same period. The two airlines respectively generated $ 231.6 million on the Luanda-Lisbon line and $ 185 million between Cape Town and Johannesburg.