Sub-Saharan Africa earned over $36 billion from tourist visits in 2012, a new World Bank report says October 3, 2013.
According to the World Bank, the continent attracted 33.8 million visitors in 2012, up from a low 6.7 million in 1990.
The report, “Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods”, indicated that the amount earned from tourism in 2012 was 2.8% of the region’s GDP.
“In 2012, Africa attracted 33.8 million visitors, up from a low 6.7 million visitors in 1990, and its receipts from tourism for the same year amounted to over $36 billion, or 2.8% of the region’s GDP,” it said.
The report showed that Africa’s tourism is set to boost economic growth, create new jobs and will “now outpace other regions for new tourism investment”.
The report highlighted the potential of African countries to improve and expand their tourism sector, and suggested that 33 of sub-Sahara Africa’s 48 countries currently have the capacity for tourism success through establishing strong political support for developing the industry and attracting increased private investment to help finance and sustain it.
The industry is expected to directly employ 6.7 million people in the region by 2021, according to the World Bank report.
It said, “Tourism accounted directly or indirectly for one in every 20 jobs in sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, and is one of the few industries on the continent in which women are well represented as employees and managers. Sub-Saharan Africa is outpacing other regions in tourism growth.”
Africa’s private companies are increasingly attracting regional and international investment and the returns on investing in Africa are among the highest in the world, said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.
In close alliance with the private sector, Mr Diop advised African governments to do their part to create better transport, electricity, infrastructure, and other key services to develop tourism for more broad-based growth and improved livelihoods.
The report, according to the World Bank, is the first to comprehensively examine tourism in sub-Saharan Africa at a regional level and to recommend practical evidence-based measures that could create an economic transformation by leveraging the tourism industry to help create jobs, stem poverty and diversify economies.
By Ekow Quandzie