NAIROBI, KENYA, OCTOBER 16 —The Africa tourism sector recorded a strong performance in the first half of the year, latest industry data by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows.
This comes amidst a six per cent growth in international tourist arrivals in the first six months of 2018.
According to the UNWTO latest barometer released this month, the continent’s tourism sector recorded a four per cent (4%) growth, a half-mark to last year’s full year growth of 8.6 per cent.
Year to date, North Africa has recorded the highest growth at 6.9 per cent while SubSahara recorded a 2.7 per cent growth.
All world regions enjoyed robust growth, UNWTO noted “fuelled by strong demand from major source markets and supported by an upswing in the global economy.”
“International tourists arrivals grew six per cent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, reflecting a continuation of the strong results of 2017 (7 per cent ),” the UNWTO barometer states.
This exceeds the rate of four per cent of higher growth recorded every year since 2010.
The growth to date also exceeds UNWTO’s forecast of four per cent to five per cent for the year 2018, as reported in the January edition of the UNWTO world tourism barometer.
Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth in January-June 2018 with arrivals increasing seven per cent in both regions.
“The Middle East recorded sound results with five per cent while the Americans saw a three per cent increase in the six months,” UNWTO reports.
France,UK,Russia,India, Republic of Korea and the US led outbound spending from their respective regions.
UNWTO estimates that destinations worldwide received 641 million international tourist arrivals between January and June, 37 million more than a similar period last year.
The global tourism body has predicted a strong performance for the remaining half of the year.
“Against a strong first semester, growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 remains positive overall, though comparatively more moderate, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index survey,” it says in its report.
The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer is a publication that monitors short-term tourism trends on a regular basis, providing global tourism stakeholders with up-to-date analysis on international tourism.
The information is updated six times a year and includes an analysis of the latest data on tourism destinations (inbound tourism) and source markets (outbound tourism).
“Release of international tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector’s resilience and relentless growth trajectory. We continue to work with our many partners to translate this growth into better jobs, more benefits to societies, and more opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and destinations”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The first half of the year accounts for about 45 per cent of annual international tourist arrivals. The second half represents 55 per cent as it is three days longer and includes the Northern Hemisphere high-season months of July and August.
Last year, Europe and Africa were among regions that recorded increased arrivals of eight and nine per cent respectively.
International tourism generated US$ 240 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents.
This raised total tourism exports to US$ 1.6 trillion, which translates to about US$ 4 billion a day.
This corresponded to seven per cent of the world’s exports making tourism the world’s third-largest export sector.