From Routes Conference in Durban

Africa is set to develop the world’s fastest growing Travel & Tourism market over the next 10 years, alongside Asia-Pacific, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). That was the key message of David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, when he delivered his keynote speech yesterday in the World Routes Strategy Summit.

According to Scowsill, the growth of Africa’s Travel & Tourism industry is on course to reach 4.9 per cent for the sector’s direct contribution to GDP over the next decade, equalling the growth of the Asia-Pacific region. This unprecedented growth rate underscores the strength of the region’s potential compared to the estimated forecast increase in other regions of the world over the next decade – notably the Middle East 4.6 per cent; the Americas 3.8 per cent, Europe 2.8 per cent and the overall worldwide growth 3.9 per cent.

“Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies. Tremendous opportunities exist to further expand tourism across the African continent, yet growth doesn’t happen by itself and challenges remain. To fully realise the expanded potential, African nations must collectively focus on four key areas: first, expanded investment in tourism infrastructure; second, improved connectivity and air liberalisation - a move towards a fairer open skies policy; third, common visas across multiple countries: and fourth, investment in human capital to build the capacity and skill set of the workforce. The economic potential of tourism in Africa is remarkable but for this to materialise it is critical that individual nations strengthen their unique branding positions to help fulfil the forecasted growth," he said.

Richard Maslen - The HUB