African tourists emerge as powerhouse for tourism on the continent, says UNCTAD report

Four out of 10 international tourists in Africa come from the continent itself, according to the new UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2017: Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth.

Image result for travel noire africa

Pic Credit: Travel Noire

In sub-Saharan Africa, this number increases to two out of every three tourists whose travels originate on the continent. Data backing this key finding show that, contrary to perception, Africans themselves are increasingly driving tourism demand in Africa.

Tourism in Africa is a flourishing industry that supports more than 21 million jobs, or 1 in 14 jobs, on the continent. Over the last two decades, Africa has recorded robust growth, with international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues growing at 6 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, each year between 1995 and 2014.

Focusing on tourism for transformative and inclusive growth, this year’s report encourages African countries to harness the dynamism of the tourism sector.

By collecting and comparing data from two different periods, 1995-1998 and 2011-2014, the report reveals that international tourist arrivals to Africa increased from 24 million to 56 million. Tourism export revenues more than tripled, increasing from $14 billion to approximately $47 billion. As a result, tourism now contributes about 8.5 per cent to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 aims at doubling the contribution of tourism to the continent’s GDP. To meet this target, tourism needs to grow at a faster and stronger pace.

“Tourism is a dynamic sector with phenomenal potential in Africa. Properly managed, it can contribute immensely to diversification and inclusion for vulnerable communities,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

To realize the potential of intraregional tourism for the continent’s economic growth, African Governments should take steps to liberalize air transport, promote the free movement of persons, ensure currency convertibility and, crucially, recognize the value of African tourism and plan for it. These strategic measures can have relatively fast and tangible impacts. In Rwanda, the abolition of visa requirements for fellow members of the East African Community in 2011 helped increase intraregional tourists from 283,000 in 2010, to 478,000 in 2013.

Another important theme highlighted in the report is the mutually beneficial relationship between peace and tourism. Peace is of course fundamental for tourism. The mere appearance of instability in a region can deter tourists, leading to devastating, long-lasting economic consequences. However, the perception of danger does not always correspond with reality.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa had a very high cost in terms of tourism numbers and revenue lost across the entire continent. Despite being limited to relatively few countries in the western part of the continent, tourist arrivals and bookings fell in countries as far from the outbreak as South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The report notes that the economic impacts of political instability can be quite significant and long-lasting. For example, following political instability in Tunisia, total tourism receipts in 2009-2011 declined by 27 per cent on average, from $3.5 billion in 2009 to $2.5 billion in 2011.

Addressing safety and security concerns and swift responses to crises by African Governments and regional institutions are paramount to the growth of tourism in Africa. Promoting strategies aimed at improving Africa’s image in the global media are also critical in ensuring the sector’s recovery after conflict or political unrest.

During the next decade, tourism’s continued growth is expected to generate an additional 11.7 million jobs in Africa. Furthermore, where tourism thrives, women thrive. In Africa, more than 30 per cent of tourism businesses are run by women; and 36 per cent of its tourism ministers are women, which is the highest share in the world.

Image result for african women in tourism industry

Pic Credit: UN Multimedia

Creating firm links between tourism, the agriculture and infrastructure sectors, ecotourism and the medical and cultural tourism market segments can foster diversification into higher value activities and distribute incomes more broadly. To unlock this potential, African Governments should adopt measures that support local sourcing, encourage local entities’ participation in the tourism value chain and boost infrastructure development. This continued investment into the tourism sector in Africa could lift millions out of poverty, while also contributing to peace and security in the region.

See full article here

See UNCTAD report here

Source: TRALAC

Mombasa youth through David’s eyes Part I

“Look at him. You just take a long hard look at him. IMG_20141022_101300 Please tell me if these people are lazy. It is 5.20 a.m. They were here before you even came. What you’re seeing him doing is collecting feed to catch fish. The tide is also about to come so he is preparing for it in advance. I know these boys; it is as if they are my sons. Some of them are my neighbours, some of them I never see again but they still are like my sons. I have watched them from different places in Mombasa for over 28 years. Yes, I have worked in Mombasa for over 28 years. Do you believe me? (chuckles) I have done all manner of jobs but I’m most proud as a security guard. I have worn this uniform for a longer period than you’ve probably existed in this world. You look very young but I will not ask you your age.  I hear it is bad manners to do so. (chuckles) I started here in the early 80’s. Things were great. Tourism was booming. Mombasa was the it place in the whole East African coast, actually in Africa. It was the same in the 90’s but I cannot say it’s the same today. (silence) I am earning the least I have ever earned in my life, but I am grateful. I still have a job. I can’t say it’s the same for some of my friends, actually most of them. They are so bitter with life. Do you blame them? (silence) So these boys, you’d like to know more about them? Well, these boys right now are one the most hardworking individuals I know. Everyone says that Mombasa youth are lazy. Do people in the urban cities even wake at these ungodly hours to go to work? Let alone to do a traditional economic activity such as fishing? Why label what you do not know? You end up belittling those who still have a bit of fire in them. You honestly do. Despite all hardship and short comings, they are still here before dawn to fend for themselves. Make no mistake though, they still do engage in illegal activities. You do know that drugs are rampant here. It’s a shame. They have destroyed our youth. Majority are high at least at some point in the day. Call it escapism and opportunists making a killing. These children probably dropped out of school in class 4-8 or at the most in their second year in high school. People say they are lazy because now there is free primary education but that is not the case. The funds available are Kshs 3000 ( USD 34) and one needs Kshs 7000 (USD 78). Yes one many say that they can work to offset the balance but there are other things that take priority, food and shelter. The basic needs. Those are more of a priority. School comes as an afterthought yet it is the one thing that could remove them from abject poverty. But there is another problem. There are those who have gone to school but have still not gotten a shot at their silver lining. There are no jobs. Am sure you can now see why I say that these boys out here fishing are hardworking. They know that people cannot do without food and even despite them earning very little, they are still here. They then take the fish to the factory in Old Town then to marikiti. They live a day at a time. It’s worse today though, they cannot bank on the tourism industry to make some extra money. There are no tourists. We need each other to face this menace, we need our security back. Can we have a national dialogue about this?”

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