Africa is fast emerging as a favourite tourist destination for travellers from the Middle East. Geographical proximity and traditional cultural and historical ties have further boosted people-to-people contact between African and Middle Eastern countries.
During the restructuring of outbound tourist trends in the Middle East following the events of September 11, Africa has gained prominence as a major tourist destination for travellers from the Middle East. Many African countries are now wooing travellers from the Middle East by launching aggressive promotional campaigns to highlight their tourist attractions.
Kenya has been at the forefront when it comes to attracting visitors from the Middle East. Kenya’s tourist industry is by far the largest single export earner for the country. Tourism forms the foundation for the Kenya’s economy and highlights two of Kenya’s most unique features: wildlife and beaches. Careful planning and proactive leadership have maximised the tourism potential as Kenya continually outpaces it’s East African neighbours when it comes to undertaking promotional activities. A solid infrastructure coupled with a devotion to wildlife conservation has propelled Kenya to the forefront of the regional tourism industry.
Kenya’s tourist arrivals rose by over 11 percent in the first quarter of 2016 and tourism earnings were up 8 percent. The country expects tourism’s annual revenue to grow by 10 percent this year. “Tourism continues to grow. The improvement and upturn in our economy has a lot to do with tourism,” said spokesperson of Kenya Tourist Board (KTB).
On the other hand, South Africa has also been making concerted efforts to further increase its incoming tourist arrivals from the Middle East. The country has been paticipating at major trade fairs and exhibitions and has been publishing promotional material to highlight its tourist attraction to the Middle East audiences. As a result, South Africa has emerged as a popular tourist destination among Middle East travellers.
Some of the other African countries that have been vying for a slice of high spending tourists from the Middle east include Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Namibia – to name a few.
The Holiday Guide magazine has been covering Africa through a series of special supplements and provides an excellent platform for government organisations and tourism boards to promote their country’s tourist sector in the Middle East markets. Our staff regularly travels to Africa to write about various tourism-related activities and to interview key government officials. Countries we have covered so far include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia.