The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Kigali witnessed a collaborative initiative between WTTC and VFS Global, revealing substantial growth potential for Africa’s Travel and tourism sector. The sector has the capability to inject an additional $168 billion into the continent’s economy, potentially creating over 18 million new jobs.
This projection is contingent on the implementation of three key policies, as outlined in the report ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa.’ The highlighted policies centre around enhancing air infrastructure, streamlining visa facilitation, and implementing effective tourism marketing.
As of 2019, the Travel & Tourism sector in Africa already contributed over $186 billion to the region’s economy, welcoming 84 million international travellers. Furthermore, it plays a pivotal role in employment, sustaining the livelihoods of 25 million people, which constitutes 5.6% of all jobs in the region.
During the summit, Julia Simpson, President & CEO of WTTC, emphasized the transformative journey of Africa’s Travel and tourism sector, noting its doubling in value within two decades, becoming a significant contributor to the continent’s economic landscape. The report underscores the immense growth potential, asserting that with the right policies, an additional $168 billion could be unlocked within the next decade.
Key recommendations include simplified visa processes, improved air connectivity within Africa, and robust marketing campaigns to showcase the diverse destinations across the continent. Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, expressed excitement about the partnership and reaffirmed the commitment to support the development of travel and tourism to and from Africa.
The report not only examines the sector’s historical challenges, such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, disease outbreaks, and political instability, but also points towards a path of recovery. 2023 is anticipated to be a year of near-full recovery, approaching 2019 levels by 1.9%, coupled with the creation of almost 1.8 million jobs.
Highlighted opportunities for sustainable growth include strategic investments, improved connectivity, streamlined visa processes, adoption of low-carbon energy for reduced carbon footprint, and enhanced water efficiency. This comprehensive report provides valuable insights for governments to formulate policies and offers businesses a well-defined roadmap for expansion in the thriving African Travel and tourism market.