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News Article

Africa Tourism Monitor published

New publication examines how to make Africa a more open and connected continent

The African Development Bank has released the latest edition of the Africa Tourism Monitor. The report dated December 2016 largely focuses on data from 2015, but also discusses developments in 2016 and looks forward to how to develop sustainable tourism in Africa. The publication “highlights the importance of developing a sustainable and resilient tourism industry through innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.” It presents tourism statistics from 2015, when Africa’s tourism sector faced numerous challenges that led to a fall in tourist arrivals and receipts. After this decline, the report states that it is “now more important than ever to draw on the collaboration and expertise of public and private sector practitioners to foster a resilient travel and tourism sector.”

The Africa Tourism Monitor is a yearly research publication by the AfDB that grew out of a three-year collaboration with New York University (NYU) Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA). A major focus of the latest edition is how to make connectivity within Africa better, through more open borders and better transport links and infrastructure.

Regional organizations such as the AfDB and the African Union Commission (AUC) have long called for greater regional integration and the free movement of persons across borders. The AUC’s Agenda 2063 proposes the creation of an African passport and an end to visa requirements for all African citizens. In response to this imperative, the AfDB in partnership with McKinsey & Company and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Africa, has developed The Africa Visa Openness Index, which it launched in February 2016. The Index aims to be a tool for change, to inform and motivate policymakers to simplify visa processes and initiative reforms. The first findings of the Index, however, conclude that African countries are generally more closed off to each other than open, making travel within the continent difficult. It cites data to substantiate this claim, for example, that (i) Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries and (ii) that Africans can get visas on arrival in only 25% of other African countries.

In its steps towards realizing a more open continent, in July 2016 at the 27th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, the AU unveiled the first electronic, biometric common passport for Africa, thereby laying the foundation for achieving pan-African connectivity and trade.

But “Interconnectivity requires more than common passports and more open borders. What is equally important is investment in Africa’s infrastructure. The AfDB has for many years highlighted infrastructure development as one of its focal priorities to facilitate accessibility and trade across the continent,” says Charles Leyeka Lufumpa, Director of Statistics at the African Development Bank Group in the introduction to the report. He highlights the Bank’s assistance in modernizing air transport systems in Morocco and supporting the Nairobi-Addis road corridor to improve access between Kenya and Ethiopia and two examples of investing in connectivity.

“It is clear that tourism is one of Africa’s most promising sectors in terms of development, and represents a major opportunity to foster inclusive development, increase the region’s participation in the global economy, and generate revenues for investment in other activities, including environmental and cultural preservation,” Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said in the report.

Read the full report:

To find database records on tourism in Africa, try starting with the search tourism AND (up:africa OR gl:africa), and then filtering by country or subject topic to drill down to the location or topic of interest to you.


Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 19 June 2017
  • Subject(s)
  • Tourism