Kigali, the vibrant capital of Rwanda, played host to a groundbreaking event at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit. In a collaboration with VFS Global, the WTTC unveiled a report that could transform the African Travel & Tourism sector. This revelation promises to infuse a staggering $168 billion into the continent’s economy and spawn over 18 million new jobs.
The report, aptly named ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa,’ outlines a visionary roadmap for achieving annualized growth of 6.5%, leading to a remarkable contribution of over $350 billion. The key to this growth lies in a trio of transformative policies aimed at bolstering air infrastructure, simplifying visa procedures, and launching dynamic tourism marketing campaigns.
Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector is a formidable economic powerhouse, having contributed over $186 billion to the region’s economy in 2019 and attracting 84 million international travellers. Beyond its monetary contributions, this sector sustains livelihoods for 25 million people, constituting a substantial 5.6% of all employment in the region.
Julia Simpson, the WTTC President & CEO, hailed the sector’s extraordinary transformation, emphasizing its doubled value in just two decades. She further stressed the massive growth potential of Travel & Tourism in Africa and the need for streamlined visa processes, improved air connectivity, and robust marketing to unlock an additional $168 billion in the next decade.
Zubin Karkaria, Founder & CEO of VFS Global, expressed excitement about their partnership with the WTTC and their commitment to uncovering the vast opportunities in African Travel & Tourism. With a strong presence in Africa since 2005, VFS Global has become a trusted partner to 38 governments across 55 cities in 35 countries on the continent. The report not only highlights economic prospects and sustainable tourism but also offers governments a clear path to policy formulation and businesses a well-defined roadmap for expansion.
This report delves into the historical journey of the Travel & Tourism sector in Africa, a story of resilience in the face of challenges such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, disease outbreaks, and political instability. Despite these setbacks, the sector is now on the path to recovery, with 2023 projected to be a year of near-full recovery, being only 1.9% short of 2019 levels, and the creation of nearly 1.8 million jobs.
The report underscores opportunities for the sector, including strategic investments in improved connectivity, simplified visa processes, the adoption of low-carbon energy to reduce the carbon footprint, and enhanced water efficiency. These measures could unlock the potential for sustainable growth, job creation, and economic development in Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector. Africa, with its rich cultural tapestry and natural wonders, is poised for an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity in the realm of Travel & Tourism.