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Travel & Tourism in Africa: A Sector with Untapped Potential

The Travel & Tourism sector in Africa is poised for significant growth in the coming years, with the potential to contribute an additional US$168 billion to the continent’s economy over the next decade. This is according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and VFS Global, which highlights the sector’s potential to create jobs, drive economic development, and promote cross-cultural collaboration.

The report, titled “Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa,” outlines three key policy areas that could unlock annualized growth of 6.5% for the sector, reaching a contribution of more than US$350 billion to the regional economy. These policy areas include:

Improving air infrastructure: Africa needs better air connectivity within the continent to make it easier for travelers to reach its diverse destinations.

Visa facilitation: Simplifying visa processes will encourage more travelers to visit Africa by reducing the time and hassle involved in obtaining a visa.

Tourism marketing: Africa needs to invest in marketing campaigns to promote its wealth of destinations and attract more visitors from around the world.

The report also highlights the opportunities for the sector to adopt sustainable practices, such as reducing its carbon footprint through low-carbon energy adoption and enhancing water efficiency. These practices will not only help to protect the environment but also make the sector more attractive to environmentally conscious travelers.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Kigali, Rwanda, WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said: “Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector has witnessed an extraordinary transformation. In just two decades, it has more than doubled in value, significantly contributing to the continent’s economy.

Growth potential for Travel & Tourism in Africa is massive. It has already more than doubled since 2000, and with the right policies could unlock an additional US$168 billion in the next decade.

Africa needs simplified visa processes, better air connectivity within the continent, and marketing campaigns to highlight the wealth of destinations in this breathtaking continent.

Zubin Karkaria, Founder & CEO of VFS Global, said: “We are excited to partner with WTTC to uncover the extensive opportunities that Travel & Tourism offers in Africa.

Having established our presence in Africa since 2005 we are today the trusted partner of 38 governments who we serve across 55 cities in 35 countries in Africa. VFS Global recognises the tremendous potential of Africa and remains deeply committed to supporting the continuing development of travel and tourism to and from the continent.

This report not only highlights the diverse prospects for economic growth, sustainable tourism, and cross-cultural collaboration but also provides valuable insights for governments to formulate policies and offers businesses a well-defined roadmap for expansion in this thriving market.

The report concludes that Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector has the potential to become a major driver of economic growth and job creation in the coming years. With the right policies in place, the sector can help to unlock the continent’s full potential and create a brighter future for its people.

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