Travel & Tourism in Africa Could Catalyze a US$168 Billion Economic Surge

Friday, November 3, 2023


During its Global Summit in Kigali, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in partnership with VFS Global, unveiled a report indicating that the African Travel & Tourism sector has the potential to contribute US$168 billion to the continent’s economy and generate over 18 million new jobs. The report, titled ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa,’ outlines three essential policies that could lead to annualized growth of 6.5%, resulting in a contribution exceeding US$350 billion.

The report includes a set of policies aimed at boosting tourism, facilitating visas, and enhancing air infrastructure in order to improve Africa’s growth. With 84 million foreign visitors in 2019, travel and tourism is a major industry in Africa, contributing over US$ 186BN to the continent’s GDP. Additionally, the sector is vital to employment, supporting 25 million people.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, emphasized the remarkable growth of Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector during the global tourism body’s Global Summit in Kigali. She adds, “Growth potential for Travel & Tourism in Africa is massive. It has already more than doubled since 2000, and with the right policies could unlock an additional US$168 billion in the next decade.”

Zubin Karkaria, Founder & CEO of VFS Global, expressed excitement about the partnership with WTTC. He stated, “Having established our presence in Africa since 2005 we are today the trusted partner of 38 governments who we serve across 55 cities in 35 countries in Africa.”

This report explores the historical development of the travel and tourism industry in Africa. It’s a tale of overcoming obstacles head-on, from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis to the setbacks brought on by disease outbreaks and unstable political environments. The global body projects that 2023 will see the creation of almost 1.8 million new jobs and a near-full recovery, falling just 1.9% short of 2019 levels.
Opportunities for Africa The report underscores opportunities in the African Travel & Tourism sector, including strategic investments, enhanced connectivity, streamlined visa processes, adopting low-carbon energy, and improving water efficiency. These initiatives could unlock sustainable growth, job creation, and economic development in the region.

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