People around the world kept traveling more despite challenging conditions of political, social and economic factors. Although political unrest and epidemics has impacted some popular tourist destinations, including Thailand, Kenya, West Africa and some Middle East countries, the overall number of outbound trips has been increasing.
Demand was strong, with mixed results across countries due to strong exchange rate fluctuations. The decrease in oil prices and other commodities augmented disposable income in tourism importing countries as well as increased safety and security contributing to the growth in travel.
The global outbound travel has grown by 5% annually since 2011. On the just ended year the number of nights in a visited country increased by 3% and average spending per trip generated 6%. Africa and the Middle East has also seen 3% growth according to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) figures. The travel industry also earned massive recognition from head of states bringing domestic, regional and international business travelers to the continent. Advancement in technology also supported Africa to boost its economy offering a fresh image to international tourists.
On the other hand the growing number of travel start-ups including Jovago Africa’s leading online hotel booking company which is easing travel hassles attracts people around the globe to the continent. Easier online discovery combined with growing consumer confidence in online bookings enabled companies to meet travelers demand. With many of such technology start-ups operations, air travel and lodging facilities are expected to generate more revenue. Experts in the industry also predict that there is an increase in business visitors to the continent as a result of the hi-tech companies, this will also encourage more leisure tourists as facilities are upgraded and improved.
Encouraged by such advancements, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 marking the 6th consecutive year above-average growth according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism report. On the same year around 50 million tourists travelled around the world. Based on the current trend, UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals will continue to grow by 4% worldwide in 2016.
“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” said Taleb Rifai UNWTO Secretary-General.
Countries around the world have taken steps introducing travel facilitation policies in order to increase numbers of visitors and improve competitiveness promoting destinations. These has created millions of additional jobs thus generating a huge revenue for national economies motivating countries to be more open to host growing number of travelers.