International tourist arrivals in Africa went up by 8% in 2016 according to UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2017 Edition, which cites comparatively limited data available to date. This represents a strong rebound, following two years (2014 and 2015) of weaker performance due to various geopolitical, economic, and health challenges.
As compared to 2015, 2016 saw a 4 million increase in international tourists, to reach 58 million (5% of the world total). This earned the region US$ 35 billion in international tourism receipts (3% share), representing an increase of 8% in real terms.
The report further indicates that Sub-saharan Africa led the continent’s recovery by +10%. Attributed partly to simpler visa procedures, South Africa recorded a 13% growth in international arrivals, with Kenya and Tanzania also enjoying double digit growth of +17% and +16% respectively in 2016. Yet, domestic travel spending still had the biggest share according to a Jumia Travel Hospitality Report for Africa, generating approximately 64% of Africa’s Tourism GDP. This is in comparison to 36% of foreign visitor spending in 2016.
UNWTO notes among others strengthening of security, improved air and sea connectivity, and the redirection of tourism flows from other troubled destinations, as major contributors to the improved tourism performance in most African countries.
Credit: Josephine Wawira