• Tourism: what does Africa really gain?
  • Tourism: what does Africa really gain?

Tourism: what does Africa really gain?

If the States develop more strategies to develop their tourism offer, to date, the sector contributes little to inclusive growth given its potential. Yet, studies show that the tourism sector is a strong source of local wealth and employment. Investigations

By Lilia Ayari


On April 25, at the first anniversary of their partnership, Jumia Travel and AccorHotels presented the “Hospitality Report Africa”, an overview of the tourism and hospitality industry in Africa in 2016. The study, based on data from Jumia Travel and the AccorHotels Group, as well as contributions from UNESCO and Ethiopian Airlines, is aiming at enhancing the tourism potential in the continent through better assessment of the latter. “The idea of ​​our partnership is a shared ambition of what we can contribute to the development of tourism in Africa and a willingness to offer solutions adapted to all African travelers,” said Paul Midy, CEO of Jumia Travel.” We want to democratize travel to Africa via our hotel booking platform, reducing the cost of travel, facilitating access to information and adapting our services to local customers, and we are proud to have shared this vision with AccorHotels” added Paul Midy.

58 million tourists in 2016

According to the findings of the study, 58 million tourists visited the continent in 2016, an increase of 8% compared to 2015. And the forecast for 2017 is 64 million. The trend is increasing. Better, by 2027, the figure should reach 110 million. But in the meantime, the report mentions that “Africa has made great strides in recent years in the development of infrastructure to decompartmentalize the continent, but major challenges remain in the construction of roads, airports and railway, as well as in electricity supply.” Cost, visa restrictions, hotel reservations and air links are the main hurdles to tourism in Africa, according to a survey conducted in 2016 in 10 countries, as Africa accounts for only 3% of global air traffic. Even though the percentage is expected to reach 4.8% in the next five years, thanks to increasing flights from international airlines to the mainland, this is still insufficient for a real tourism booming.

Tourism represents 7.8% of African GDP

Tourism is a real growth vector for the continent. To date, still according to the Jumia-Accor report, tourism accounted for 7.8% of African GDP (165 billion USD) in 2016. While other studies have pointed out the direct impact of tourism on socio-economic development in terms of job creation and local wealth; for the time being, spin-offs, apart from the currency contribution, remain low compared to the continent’s potential. “Freeing the tourism potential in Africa” ​​was precisely the conclusion of another report signed by the African Development Bank (ADB), the Africa Tourism Monitor, the latest edition of which was published in 2016. “The travel and tourism industry generates 105.4 million direct jobs, equivalent to 3.6% of total employment in the world, mention the authors. As for tourism in Africa, it generates 8.7 million jobs. If we add the indirect jobs, we will have 20 million, that is 7% of total employment in the continent.” To go further, the report calls on political leaders to facilitate visa facilitation measures and work towards better regional integration.

PPP: expertise and financing

Indeed, tourism in Africa remains expensive. The lack of air service, and appropriate infrastructure, is contributing to increased costs. In the same way, the training of players in the sector must be developed in the hotel business and throughout the chain: from tourist guides to restaurants and tour operators. And in this context, the model adopted in Africa is still that of public-private partnerships which give the opportunity to the States to find both financing and expertise of effective tourist offer meeting the new international standards. And the world’s leading hotels such as Accor, Mariott and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group have always been interested in a continent with tremendous prospects, as acknowledged in a press release published by W Hospitality Group Hotels Chain Development, Matthew Weihs, Managing Director of Bench Events, organizer of the African Investment Forum” (AHIF).


“The 30% increase in the development of the hotel network (in 2016) is astounding and clearly shows that Africa still has a fantastic potential for growth.” Another niche remains to be exploited: intra-Africa tourism, with the explosion of an African middle class eager to know its continent better. But at this level, the market is little exploited…





Author : Lilia Ayari // Photo : Illustrations tirées de l’Africa Tourism Monitor de l’AFBD © AFBD

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