Africa’s popularity as an exotic vacation spot is growing rapidly. The World Trade Organisation said that despite a setback in worldwide tourism activity in recent times, Africa registered the highest growth rate in tourist arrivals. The tourism sector in Africa is growing rapidly. In 2016, over 68 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2015. Back in 1990, Africa welcomed just 17.4 million visitors from abroad. The sector has therefore quadrupled in size in less than 15 years.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Africa’s strong performance in 2016 (up 4%) makes it one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia (up 6%).
High-spending tourists from the Middle East spend approximately US$500 higher than an average European traveller per trip…
The hospitality sector is experiencing particularly rapid growth and is expanding into new countries such as Mauritania, which have, until now, remained largely on the fringes. According to the report, it is Sub-Saharan Africa, rather than North Africa, that is benefiting most from the expansion of hotel chains and the corresponding increase in the number of available rooms. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, comes top of the rankings in this respect, followed by Egypt and Morocco. However, the biggest hotel development project in Sub-Saharan Africa can be found in Equatorial Guinea, in the Grand Hotel Oyala Kempinski, which features 451 rooms.
Wealth of attractions in Africa
Africa boasts a rich variety of attractions that draw in tourists from around the world. The continent has a wealth of archaeological sites and historic monuments, such as pyramids (Egypt), cave churches (Ethiopia), Robben Island (South Africa), Gorée Island (Senegal) and cave paintings (Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria and Tsodilo in Botswana). It is also a place of stunning landscapes and scenery, boasting attractions such as Victoria Falls, the Sahara, Namib and Kalahari deserts, picturesque coastlines, mountains, plains, tropical rainforests and bush ecosystems – home to exceptional plants and wildlife and flourishing small businesses.
Africa as a whole has been a prized destination for adventure travelers and relaxation seekers alike. Besides the aesthetic attractions of history, culture, and beauty, many African countries also boast practical amenities like modern roads, airports, and services. Governments of many countries in Africa see great potential in the tourism sector, and are investing accordingly, providing attractive incentives for foreign investors.
Tunisia is one of Africa’s primary holiday attractions, drawing an estimated 4.9 million tourists last year yielding over $2.51 billion for the economy. Of those 4.9 million tourists who visited Tunisia last year, more than four million were from Europe (mainly Germany, Italy, France, and Spain). Along with Turkey, it is the most popular destination in the Mediterranean rim for European tourists. However, only about 12,000 people from the Middle East visited this popular North African spot in 2005, and the International Trade Administration estimated that Tunisian government spends only $30,000 per year in Middle East marketing.
South Africa is also looking to build tourism investment relationships with the Middle East. “We have set up an office, South Africa House in Dubai, to help find ways to act as a bridge between investors from the Middle East for South Africa and vice versa,” the country’s deputy director general for tourism, Patrick Matlou said. The move has been prompted by the investment of companies such as Kuwait’s International Finance Company (IFC), which has invested in the Zimbabli Lodge.
South Africa is also making a marketing effort to attract Middle Eastern tourists, with a publicity campaign, holiday package deals with operators such as Emirates and Etihad, and finalising airline codeshare deals. “We’ve had promotions with Etihad in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the intention is to do road shows into different Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.”
Kenya offers endless opportunities for adventure, discovery and relaxation. From pristine coral reefs to the rugged snowfields of Mount Kenya, its dramatic northern deserts to a host of spectacular ranches and innovative ecotourism initiatives, and from its many tribal cultures to a exciting round of golf, Kenya is pulling out all its natural stops to cement its position as the world’s most diverse safari destination.
The Ugandan Government signed a one million dollar deal with CNN International for a media campaign to brand and market the country on its network.
The initiative, which President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched, was put together by various partners in the “BRAND UGANDA CAMPAIGN that is projected to triple the country’s tourism returns by 2010.
The first commercials were beamed across the world on CNN in 2005. As part of the deal, Uganda is now the sponsor of the 30 minute INSIDE AFRICA programme aired on CNN.
Uganda is now a new product on offer for global consumer as it goes by the brand identity GIFTED BY NATURE which sums up the country’s attraction in eco tourism, weather, heritage, and culture, strengthening the competitiveness of private enterprises. This will turn around the country’s economy by attracting more tourist traffic.
Tourism has taken over from coffee as Uganda’s top foreign exchange earner over the past two years. Uganda earned US$109 million from coffee exports last year as compared with earnings from tourism which now stand at US$250 million per annum.
The CNN team that attended the Kampala launch of Uganda’s campaign, led by the assistant representative of CNN President and INSIDE AFRICA anchor Femi Oke said the promotion would succeed because over one billion people watch CNN across the globe.