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Travel and tourism remained one of the key growth drivers of Africa’s economy, contributing 8.5 per cent of the GDP in 2018; equivalent to $194.2 billion.
According to the 2019 Jumia hospitality report on Africa, this growth record placed the continent as the second-fastest growing tourism region in the world.
This compares with a growth rate of 5.6 per cent in Asia Pacific and against a 3.9 per cent global average growth rate.
“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 head of travel, Estelle Verdier.
She was speaking during the official release of the annual report at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Addis Ababa.
Africa received 67 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, a record seven per cent increase from 63 million arrivals in 2017.
This gradual increase is attributed to the affordability and ease of travel especially within the continent, with spending among domestic travellers accounting for 56 per cent as compared to 44 per cent international expenditure.
Additionally, leisure travel remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority 71 per cent of the tourist expenditure in 2018.
Verdier notes that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area is expected to further boost domestic travel.
“To realise the full potential gains will require cooperation from all industry players.
“Governments have to be willing to eliminate visa requirements for African nationals traveling to their countries.
“Ministries and other responsible partner organisations should create campaigns that will promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travellers.”