NewsSouthern AfricaAfrican visitors driving growth in tourism sectors on the continent, UNCTAD


Posted on Thursday, 06 July 2017 16:12

African visitors driving growth in tourism sectors on the continent, UNCTAD

By Reuters

In this photo taken Aug. 24, 2014, people look out to the ocean as the sun sets over the promenade in Cape Town, South Africa.Photo: Schalk van Zuydam/AP/SIPATourism is fueling economic growth in many African countries and Africans themselves are increasingly the ones driving the demand, a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report said.


Findings showed the sector had grown across the continent; from 2011 to 2014, tourism attracted some USD 26 million, contributing with 8.5% of GDP, rising from 6.8% in period of 1995 - 1998.

Four out of 10 international tourists in Africa are coming from the continent itself.

The report examining the role that tourism plays in Africa's development was presented in New York on Wednesday (July 5) by UNCTAD chief, Chantal Line Carpentier.

"Tourism is growing in Africa. However, it could create much more impacts in terms of GDP growth for the country, the countries of Africa, especially if we could include indirect revenues linked to tourism, which are now limited as well as increasing for sub-Saharan Africa the international arrival. The good news is a lot of the tourism is now led by the Africans themselves right now," she said.

Tourism in Africa supports more than 21 million jobs, or 1 in 14 jobs on the continent.

However, Carpentier said most African countries still face significant challenges and constraints in exploiting the potential of tourism services in trade and economic development.

Government recommendations

More is needed to keep tourism revenue in African countries instead of it going back to the countries of origin of international tourist agencies and providers, she said.

The report made recommendations to African governments to greater liberalize air transport, promote the free movement of persons, ensure currency convertibility.

The report showed some factors of concern that affected tourism.

The Ebola crisis ravaged tourism in Africa because the "fear factor" kept visitors away from countries even where there had been no cases of the virus, like Kenya and South Africa.

Political risk and insecurity especially, also affected visitor numbers.

In Kenya, where tourism is a vital foreign exchange earner, visits fell by 25% in the first five months of 2015, affected by Islamist militant attacks.

Following political instability in Tunisia, total tourism revenue declined by 27% on average from $3.5 bn in 2009 to $2.5 bn in 2011.

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