• Last year, Africa’s tourism industry grew at a rate of 5.6%.
  • This makes the continent's growth rate second only to the Asia Pacific.
  • At this rate, tourism remains a key driver of the African economy.

The tourism sector in Africa is seriously booming according to the figures in Jumia’s 2019 Jumia Hospitality Report Africa.

Now in its third edition, the report shows that travel and tourism grew at a rate of 5.6% in 2018, second only to Asia Pacific,making Africa the second-fastest growing tourism region in the world. 

 Jumia’s 2019 Hospitality Report (Jumia)
Jumia’s 2019 Hospitality Report (Jumia)

The entire sector contributed $194.2 billion (8.5%) to the continent’s GDP. Travel and tourism sector directly and indirectly provided employment for about 24.3 million people, approximately (6.7%) of total employment.

Some of this contribution could be attributed to the 7% increase in the world’s international visitors to the continent. This means Africa welcomed around 67 million tourists compared to the 63 million arrivals in 2017 and 58 million in 2016.

Last year's international vistors spent a total of $58.5 billion. 

 Jumia’s 2019 Hospitality Report (Jumia)
Jumia’s 2019 Hospitality Report (Jumia)

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Here is why more people are visiting Africa

This gradual increase in tourists is attributed to the affordability and continuous ease of travel within the continent. One reason for this ease is Ethiopia’s visa relaxation policies which place the country as Africa’s fastest-growing travel country. 

Another reason is the fact that more countries like Sierra Leone and South Africa are also offering visa-free entry to tourists to boost their economy.

Commenting on this trend, South African Tourism’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Sthembiso Dlamini said, “Most African government leaders are now committed to making travel between African countries easier and more affordable. An example is the creation of the East Africa Visa programme that allows travellers to apply for a visa online before visiting Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Such collaborations are visionary. It is when we work together, pool our resources, partner and share our best knowledge that we can do much more.” 

Jumia’s Head of Travel Estelle Verdier also offered her thoughts on ways to boost Africa’s tourism sector.

“Our focus is to continue showcasing Africa as a continent full of beauty and opportunity. Through this report, we want to help draw attention to the vast potential of the tourism industry, that we believe is an untapped lever of economic growth. To realize the full potential gains will require cooperation from all industry players. 

“Governments have to be willing to eliminate visa requirements for African nationals travelling to their countries. Ministries and other responsible partner organizations should create campaigns that will promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travellers,” she concluded.