Africa earned US$ 35 billion in international tourism in 2016
London, Oct. 30, 2017 (AltAfrika)-International tourist arrivals in Africa went up by 8% in 2016 according to UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2017 Edition. This represents a strong rebound, following two years (2014 and 2015) of weaker performance due to various geopolitical, economic, and health challenges.
Compared to 2015, 2016, the latest figure 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.
Domestic travel spending 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 believes that improved security, better 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. “An ever-increasing number of destinations worldwide have opened up to, and invested in tourism, turning it into a key driver of socio-economic progress through the creation of jobs and enterprises, export revenues, and infrastructure development.
Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. Many new destinations have emerged in addition to the traditional favourites of Europe and North America,” reads the UNWTO report.
According to the same report, tourism has boasted virtually uninterrupted growth over time, despite occasional shocks, demonstrating the sector’s strength and resilience. International tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million globally in 1950 to 278 million in 1980, 674 million in 2000, and 1,235 million in 2016. Likewise, international tourism receipts earned by destinations worldwide have surged from US$ 2 billion in 1950 to US$ 104 billion in 1980, US$ 495 billion in 2000, and US$ 1,220 billion in 2016.
The report states that tourism is a major category of international trade in services. In addition to receipts earned in destinations, international tourism also generated US$ 216 billion in exports through international passenger transport services rendered to non-residents in 2016, bringing the total value of tourism exports up to US$ 1.4 trillion, or US$ 4 billion a day on average.
The UNWTO notes that International tourism represents 7% of the world’s exports in goods and services, a relative one percent increase over the previous year. Tourism has grown faster than world trade for the past five years. As a worldwide export category, tourism ranks third after chemicals and fuels and ahead of automotive products and food. In many developing countries, tourism is the top export category.
“International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) in 2016 grew by 3.9% to reach a total of 1,235 million worldwide, an increase of 46 million over the previous year. It was the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth in international tourism following the 2009 global economic crisis. A comparable sequence of uninterrupted solid growth has not been recorded since the 1960s,” reads the UNWTO report.
It states that the demand for international tourism followed the positive trend of previous years, with many destinations reporting sound results, while a few faced security incidents. Some redirection of tourism flows was observed, though most destinations shared in the overall growth due to stronger travel demand, increased connectivity and more affordable air transport.
International tourist arrivals worldwide are expected to increase by 3.3% between 2010 and 2030 to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, according to UNWTO’s long-term forecast report ” Tourism Towards 2030″. Between 2010 and 2030, arrivals in emerging destinations (+4.4% a year) are expected to increase at twice the rate of those in advanced economies (+2.2% a year). The market share of emerging economies increased from 30% in 1980 to 45% in 2016, and is expected to reach 57% by 2030, equivalent to over 1 billion international tourist arrivals.(Weekend Post)