By Azania Post Reporter
THE number of tourist arrival in African continent has doubled for the past fifteen years reaching 56million recorded in year 2014 from 24 million reported in 1995, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said.
According to the organisation’s Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi, in year 2005 the number stood at 48 million tourist who visited various African countries.
In terms of growth, international tourist arrivals to Africa grew by an average of 6 per cent per year during the period under review, 1995–2014.
Northern Africa has been the main tourist destination of the continent throughout the period under review, followed by Southern and Eastern Africa.
In 2011–2014, the shares of international tourist arrivals reached 47 per cent, 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively for each of these sub regions, while Western and Middle Africa accounted for only 7 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.
This distribution reflects the fact that the economies in Middle Africa depend mostly on mining and that services play a much smaller role in the sub region compared with all other sub regions in Africa. It also suggests that tourism is more prominent in sub regions with more developed infrastructure.
Considering individual countries, during 2011–2014, Egypt (9.9 million), Morocco (9.8 million), South Africa (9.2 million) and Tunisia (6.8 million) recorded the highest average numbers of international tourist arrivals.
According to Economic development in Africa report 2017, the four countries accounted for 64 per cent of all international tourist arrivals to Africa during 2011–2014, highlighting the high degree of concentration of arrivals.
Tourism in Africa has experienced not only strong growth in terms of arrivals but also in terms of expenditures and revenues. Inbound tourism expenditures on travel, that is international tourism receipts, recorded an annual average growth rate of 9 per cent from 1995 to 2014 in nominal terms. It should be noted, however, that figures for the initial years of the period may have followed a different methodology from that used in subsequent years given the strong and sudden increase after 2002.
These receipts grew on average by 6 per cent per year in 1995–1998; growth then increased to 13 per cent per year in 2005–2008.
With greater volatility following the financial crisis, receipts peaked in 2012 and recorded a yearly decline of 2 per cent per year in the period 2011–2014.
As the samples used for 2013 and in particular 2014 are smaller, this decline must be interpreted with caution. Similar to arrivals, a decline in receipts is estimated for 2015.
The total value of tourism as an export sector is estimated by add