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Anticipated Roadmap to Africa's Tourism Recovery

Tourism was considered one of the fastest-growing industries, accounting for at least one in every four new jobs globally. Fast forward to 2021, and the pandemic has all but crippled the sector. Tourism demand – arrivals, travel, and the use of facilities and services – contracted by an estimated 74% in 2020. This has cost the industry upwards of $1.3trn and has compromised millions of jobs.

The African region shed an estimated $83bn in GDP contribution (down by 49.2%) and lost up to 7.2 million industry jobs compared to 2019 levels.

The impact of health crises such as SARS, H1N1, and Ebola wasn’t on the scale of the disaster brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. This impact was made worse by government interventions to mitigate the spread and effect of the virus.

But vaccines offer hope for the industry. Its recovery must begin with domestic tourism. In 2019, domestic tourism accounted for only 50.2% of the travel and tourism receipts in the sub-Saharan African region – lower than other regions.

It’s critical now for African destinations to promote domestic tourism, which also paves the way for international tourism. The key will be the ability to predict the potential effects of Covid-19 on tourist behavior.

It’s possible to anticipate the negative influence that perceived risk will have on tourist behavior, and ultimately both domestic and international tourism demand.

A recent study by the Africa report found that multiple stakeholders need to be involved in the tourism recovery process. These include:

  • National governments. They must harness the financial, human and technical resources required to support the tourism recovery. Critically, governments must effectively manage both the efficient rollout of vaccination programmes and the responsible reopening of the tourism economy to domestic and international tourists.
  • Custodians of destination brands. Marketers must promote African destinations as attractive but socially responsible locations. They must share information such as measures put in place to protect tourists to help people make their decisions.
  • Tourism service providers. Most importantly, tourism product owners must innovate and adapt their tourism offerings to meet the demand for safe domestic tourism. This would kick-start the tourism sector and prepare it for international tourism.

Going forward

The study results showed significant implications for African tourism practitioners. The domestic tourism sector, much like the global tourism industry, faces a multifaceted challenge. It comes from both the tourism demand side (perceived health, social and psychological risk) and the supply side (massive fiscal deficits, job losses, business liquidation, and human capital depletion).

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2 Comments

  • by Ivas
    Posted August 31, 2021 11:47 am 0Likes

    Good content and insights, Hope to see one targeting my country Uganda.

    Is it possible to add a “Check-in” option? Some sort of “I was here”

    • by Seth BUTERA
      Posted August 31, 2021 12:42 pm 0Likes

      Thank Ivas, I’m glad you like it! About the ‘i was here option’ i will look into it. much appreciated

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