Annual African Tourism Outlook: Tourism on the Africa Recovering but still below pre-pandemic levels
Research | 08 February 2024 Annual African Tourism Outlook: Tourism on the Africa Recovering but still below pre-pandemic levels

The Annual African Tourism Outlook brings together detailed information on each country's tourism ecosystem and performance under analysis. It is aimed at decision-makers in tourism, finance, and trade who need to make informed decisions about local tourism, assessing the potential risks, challenges, and opportunities.   

The information provided - the result of extensive work to collect the most recent data (2021) made available by the UNWTO - World Tourism Organization - evaluates strategic areas that include categories such as arrivals, expenditure, international destinations, international departures and arrivals, employment, and industries.   

The data analyzed shows that Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt led the way in terms of total international arrivals (which demonstrates the greater leverage of tourism in these territories) while also revealing optimistic signs of recovery in passenger transport spending in other countries, with South Sudan and Gambia recording a recovery of more than 100%. Despite the data showing a recovery in tourism in several countries on the continent, no African country recorded a growth in international arrivals compared to pre-pandemic levels (2019).    

Looking at employment rates after the pandemic and in 2019, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, and Côte d'Ivoire significantly recovered, reaching growth rates of 7.43%, 7.29%, and 6.68%, respectively. Egypt, Uganda, and South Africa stand out for their total employment figures (1.9 million, 1.1 million, and 0.7 million jobs, respectively), highlighting tourism's critical role in job creation.   

South Africa tops the table of preferred destinations on the continent, attracting three times as many visitors as second-placed Tanzania. Egypt stands out as a global destination, especially attracting travelers from the Americas, Europe, East Asia, and the Pacific. Travelers from the Middle East mostly went to Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, while Kenya stood out as a preferred destination for South Asian travelers.    

Regarding tourist spending, North and East Africa recorded the highest figures, each exceeding one billion dollars. Central and Southern Africa recorded comparatively lower figures, with only Ethiopia exceeding the one-billion-dollar threshold.    

In summary, the conclusions of the Annual African Tourism Outlook present a diverse panorama of tourism in Africa, with each country showing specific trends and contributions. However, it is essential to note that for indicators such as 'Total International Departures,' 'Employment', and 'Method of Arrival,' for example, it is possible to identify an under-representation of data from African regions across the board. This means that the countries in question have not reported any figures to the UNWTO for the "Compendium of Tourism Statistics, Data 2017 - 2021, 2023 Edition". In this sense, in addition to providing a holistic view of the tourism sector on the African continent, the Annual African Tourism Outlook advocates more frequent communication of tourism data by African countries to enable more informed decisions in the African tourism sector. 

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