TRAVEL and tourism remained one of the key growth drivers of Africa’s economy, contributing US$194,2 billion, which is 8,5 percent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the 2019 Jumia Hospitality Report.
The growth record placed the continent as the second-fastest growing tourism region in the world, with a growth rate of 5,6 percent after Asia Pacific and against a 3,9 percent global average growth rate.
“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,” said Jumia’s head of travel, Ms Estelle Verdier.
She said this during the official release of the annual report at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a few days ago. During the period under review, the report said Africa received 67 million international tourist arrivals reflecting a seven percent increase from 63 million arrivals in 2017 and 58 million in 2016. The gradual increase is attributed to the affordability and ease of travel especially within the continent, with spending among domestic travellers accounting for 56 percent as compared to 44 percent international expenditure.
Additionally, leisure travel remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority 71 percent of the tourist expenditure in 2018.
“Ministries and other responsible partner organisations should create campaigns that will promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travellers,” said Ms Verdier.
The report, now in its third edition, shows that while pay-at-hotel remained the most popular mode of payment among travellers booking via Jumia’s travel platform, its percentage use went down from 65 percent in 2018 to 62 percent in 2019 (down five percent).
Card transactions gained popularity with +24 percent within the same period, “and this reflects an increased trust in our booking platform,” Ms Verdier said.
On the other hand, the use of mobile money and travel agencies decreased by 11 percent and 20 percent respectively.
Mobile money, as a source of traffic on the Jumia Travel platform, accounted for a record 74 percent in 2019 from 57 percent in 2018, seen as a result of the increased mobile penetration in the continent.
The mobile industry contributed $144 billion to Africa’s economy (8,6 percent of total GDP) in 2018, up from $110 billion (7,1 percent of total GDP) in 2017. On the Aviation industry, the report said while Africa’s passenger traffic increased from 88,5 million in 2017 to 92 million in 2018 (+5,5 percent), it’s world share was only 2,1 percent (down from 2,2 percent in 2017).
The report attributes this trend to high competition from other regions such as the Asia Pacific. Africa’s share is, however, predicted to grow by 4,9 percent annually over the next 20 years.
Improved visa facilitation in major tourism countries in Africa remains a major boost to both the tourism and aviation industries. For instance, Ethiopia’s visa relaxation policies combined with improved connectivity as a regional transport hub placed the country as Africa’s fastest growing travel country, growing by 48,6 percent in 2018 to be worth US$7,4 billion.