WTTC Global Summit 2023 in Kigali, Rwwanda

African Tourism on the Rise: A $168 Billion Economic Boost


The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in partnership with VFS Global, has unveiled groundbreaking data at its Global Summit in Kigali, showcasing the immense potential of the African Travel & Tourism sector.

The report, titled ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa’, highlights the sector’s capability to add a staggering US$168BN to Africa’s economy and generate over 18 million new jobs.

This promising growth, however, hinges on the implementation of three critical policies aimed at unlocking an annualized growth rate of 6.5%, ultimately contributing more than US$350BN to the continent’s economy. The policies underscore the importance of enhancing air infrastructure, facilitating smoother visa processes, and ramping up tourism marketing efforts.

In 2019, Travel & Tourism significantly bolstered Africa’s economy, contributing over US$186BN and welcoming 84 million international travelers. Beyond its economic impact, the sector is a vital source of employment, sustaining 25 million jobs, or 5.6% of all employment in the region.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, emphasized the sector’s remarkable evolution over the past two decades, doubling in value and becoming a major economic driver for the continent. “With the right policies in place, Africa’s Travel & Tourism sector could unlock an additional US$168 billion in the next decade,” she stated, highlighting the need for simplified visa processes, improved air connectivity, and effective marketing strategies.

Zubin Karkaria, Founder & CEO of VFS Global, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with WTTC and the potential it unveils for Africa. With a strong presence across 35 African countries, VFS Global is poised to play a pivotal role in supporting the continent’s travel and tourism development.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the Travel & Tourism sector’s journey in Africa, showcasing resilience in the face of numerous challenges, including the Global Financial Crisis, disease outbreaks, and political instability. Despite these hurdles, the sector is on the brink of recovery, with 2023 projected to reach near-full recovery, just 1.9% below 2019 levels, and an anticipated creation of nearly 1.8 million additional jobs.

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