African income from tourism in the past twenty years has tripled. The growing middle class in Africa contributes an important part to contribute to the growth, according to a new UN report.
Tourism is now accounting for 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product (gdp) in Africa. In 1998 was 6.8 percent. “African tourism is growing mainly by Africans themselves, by a growing middle class,” says Chantal Line Carpentier, head of the united nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in New York. Four of the ten international tourists come from Africa itself.
The UNCTAD advises African governments to travel to the continent easier and safer for Africans. “Tourism is a dynamic sector, with a phenomenal potential in Africa. If this well is arrested, can the sector make a major contribution to the diversification and inclusion of vulnerable groups,” says Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of UNCTAD.
He is referring inter alia to reduce the bureaucracy between countries, such as the abolition of certain visa or the granting of one visa for different countries travelling to European example.
Carpentier also pointed out that the importance of money on the continent, by, for example, food is to involve local farmers instead of importing them. “This requires these farmers to the international standards and on time, sufficiently able to deliver. That capacity must still be built, ” she says.
The sector offers, according to her, good opportunities for young people. In the African tourism also work a lot of women. In the hotel and restaurant sector is approximately half of the employees are women, and in the total sector almost a third.
Another important factor is stability. Tunisia, for example, saw as a result of political instability, the income from tourism between 2009 and 2011, a 27 percent decline, from 3.5 billion to 2.5 billion.
“Security challenges to tackle and a prompt response of African governments to crises are essential to tourism in Africa to grow”, says UNCTAD in the report.
So led the ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 to a decline of the number of international tourists on the continent, while the disease is concentrated in only a few countries.