Africa is the second-fastest-growing continent in travel and tourism after the Asia Pacific. This is according to the 2019 Jumia Hospitality Report.
The growth rate of 5.6% has boost Africa’s economy contributing 8.5 %, $194.2 billion, of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018.
The report was released ahead of World Tourism Day that is celebrated on 27th September.
According to the report, Africa received 67 million international tourist arrivals in 2018 compared to 63 million arrivals in 2017 and 58 million in 2016.
This gradual increase is attributed to the affordability and ease of travel especially within the continent, with spending among domestic travellers accounting for 56% as compared to 44% international expenditure.
Further, leisure travel remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority of 71% of the tourist expenditure in 2018.
“Our focus is to continue showcasing Africa as a continent full of beauty and opportunity. Through this report, we want to help draw attention to the vast potential of the tourism industry, that we believe is an untapped lever of economic growth,” said Jumia’s Head of Travel Estelle Verdier.
Verdier notes that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is expected to further boost domestic travel.
“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 travelling 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,” said Verdier.
While Africa’s passenger traffic increased from 88.5 million in 2017 to 92 million in 2018 by 5.5%, it’s world share was only 2.1%, down from 2.2% in 2017.
The report attributes this trend to high competition from other regions such as the Asia Pacific. Africa’s share is however predicted to grow by 4.9% annually over the next 20 years.
Improved visa facilitation in major tourism countries in Africa remains a major boost to both the tourism and aviation industries.
“Most African government leaders are now committed to making travel between African countries easier and more affordable. An example is the creation of the East Africa Visa programme that allows travellers to apply for a visa online before visiting Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Such collaborations are visionary. It is when we work together, pool our resources, partner and share our best knowledge that we can do much more,” stated South African Tourism’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Sthembiso Dlamini.