KAMPALA, Uganda - The number of foreign tourists who visited Africa in 2013 hit 65.1 million according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The UNWTO said this was another record year that saw a worldwide growth of 5% reaching a global tourists travel of 1,087 million compared to 1,035 million in 2012.
Presenting the findings in Kampala of the 2014 Africa Tourism Monitor, Beejaye Kokil, the Division Manager Economic and Social Statistics African Development Bank said the most popular African destination for international travellers was Morocco followed by Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Morocco had 10.5million tourists who visited followed by Egypt who had 9.17million tourists. South Africa got 9.15 million tourists while Tunisia received 6.27million. Zimbabwe was fifth in Africa with 1.83million.
Africa’s share on the total global travel was only 6%. Europe topped with 565million international tourists having a share of 52% followed by Asia and the Pacific at 248 million tourists a 22.9% percentage representation.
North America had 110.5 million tourists (10.2%) while Central America, Caribbean, South America and Middle East were second last and last with 57.8 million international tourists (5.3%) and 39.6million international tourists (3.6%).
Tanzania was the best in the East African region in terms of direct employment as result of the tourism industry with 402500 jobs created in 2013 according to the UNWTO Tourism Monitor. Kenya came second with 226300 jobs. The Tourism Monitor didn’t show figures for Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Egypt topped on the African continent in terms of job creation from the tourism industry with 1,251,000 jobs created in 2013 followed by South Africa (645,500), Tanzania was third on the continent (402,500), Kenya (226,300), Madagascar (224,900) and Zimbabwe (43,600).
The World Tourism Organization projects that Africa’s international tourist arrivals will hit 134 million in 2030 which will see an increase of 106% over the 2013 figures.
According to Dr. Charles Lufumpa the Director Statistics at the African Development Bank, the rise will be triggered by an influx of new visitors from emerging economies in Asia, central and eastern Europe, all seeking to experience the cultural heritage, extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscapes unique to the continent.
“In 2013 African economies grew at approximately 4% on average, compared to 3% for the world economy, with broad variations across different regions and income groupings,” said Lufumpa.
He said the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has drawn critical national and regional infrastructural challenges in the health and transportation sector.