Africa’s tourism outlook

BY: Kofi Akpabli
Tourism in Africa largely remains an untapped opportunity
Tourism in Africa largely remains an untapped opportunity

While we roll over into a fresh new year it’s only natural to do overviews about this industry we so love. Today we are examining the overview of Africa.

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Traditionally the continent gets the only wee-est (my word) bit of the global share of tourism revenue.

Will this change soon? Well not in 2018. Things are not catching up yet. It is a slow continent, you know. But like we always believe in these parts things might move up in the long, long run.

In emerging markets tourism grew from 30 per cent in 1980 to 45 per cent in 2016. Africa has not enjoyed the same growth rate, despite the fact that the continent offers some benefits.


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Tourism here remains an untapped opportunity, largely. This is largely due to challenges facing the sector, including security concerns.

Travel visa restrictions prevent even Africans from exploring their own continent. The complexity behind removing visas, related to security, among others.

Solutions as to how countries can circumnavigate the concerns around the need for travel documents will go a long way to feed into the decision to remove the need all together. Removing travel restrictions – particularly at an inter-African level – would boost the sector significantly.

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This is Africa and the lack of adequate infrastructure abounds (please don’t quote me). Whether by air, road or water, it is complicated to travel between destinations.

An example is a traveller trying to go from Accra to Lagos by road. Not that travel within the continent by air is better.

Take Kigali to Cape Verde. Currently, they need to take a number of connecting flights and routes – all very expensive and a real worry for business travellers.

As it stands, there is a critical need to further develop a strong airline and road network that connects African locations as well as consideration of smart ways to utilize existing infrastructure.

This speaks to the importance of developing smart, connected, cities across Africa – technology will go a long way to