A study from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has proved positive reading for regional operators and shown that the continent saw a nine percent increase in tourists through2017.
In total Africa attracted 63m visitors in the year and followed a marked increase in sector investment.
Chief executive of SME TradeLinks, Salifou Siddo – who was part of the UNECA study into the impact of tourism in east Africa – presented the group’s findings at a conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
“Investment follows tourism. Africa should utilise the readily available $45bn financing the World Bank has allocated it until 2020 focusing on agriculture, housing and tourism.”
East Africa accounted for 11 percent of all continental tourism investment and saw $3.11bn of the overall $26.22bn spent. Such was centered around the hubs of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia which between them accounted for 66.4 percent of total investment.
Siddo went on to suggest that to make the most of this burgeoning popularity east African nations should move to position themselves as a unified destination, something currently being mooted on the western coast.
The lessening of visa restrictions for locals and visitors alike has begun to spread throughout the continent, and transport links in turn.
Such regional cooperation can not only prove a boon for the the wider industry at a time when Africa is in the midst of a wholesale technological revolution.
The overall continental market is one largely developing at a rate of knots and showing little signs of slowing in the long term. Behind headlines of political and economic tumult there is a solid base of industry being constructed and an environment prime for development.