The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said yesterday international tourist arrivals in Africa increased by seven percent between January and April this year compared to the same period last year.
According to its latest tourism barometer, the UNWTO said a thirteen percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa had driven overall arrivals on the continent while in North African they were down eight percent.The surge in arrivals in Africa also contributed to overall global tourism growth during the period which was up five percent compared to the same period last year.
“Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3 percent),” the UNWTO said.
“This follows an increase of 4,6 percent in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by four percent or more every year following the crisis in 2009.”
Political instability and recent plane crashes in Egypt continue to have a huge impact on arrivals in North Africa which normally drives tourism in Africa.
Other regions that posted positive growth include Asia and the Pacific, which at nine percent recorded the highest increase and the Americas, up six percent while Europe recorded a four percent rise.
The Middle East, at seven percent was the only region to register a drop in the four months.
“Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefiting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector,” said UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai.
“Yet, despite these good results, the tragic events of recent months remind us that safety and security remain a major challenge for all. We must continue to work closely together to address this global threat and ensure tourism is an integral part of emergency planning and response at global, regional and national level.”