Africa tourism swiftly overcomes pandemic downturn


Thousands of visitors are seen here thronging and swimming at the Durban Central beaches. Photo supplied

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFRICA’S tourism sector has significantly recovered over the past seven months, recovering 92 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, international tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history as arrival numbers reached 84 percent of the levels between January and July 2023.

This is according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).

Some 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and July 2023, 43 percent more than in the same months of 2022.

July was the busiest month with 145 million international travellers recorded, about 20 percent of the seven-month total.

Europe, the world’s largest destination region, reached 91 percent of pre-pandemic levels, supported by robust intra-regional demand and travel from the United States.

The Americas recovered 87 percent according to available data. In Asia and the Pacific, recovery accelerated to 61 percent of pre-pandemic arrival levels after the opening of many destinations and source markets at the end of 2022 and earlier this year.

The Middle East continues to be the only region to exceed 2019. Arrivals are 20 percent above pre-pandemic levels

“WTO data once again shows how tourism is recovering strongly in every part of the world,” said Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

He mentioned however the sector must adapt.

“The extreme weather events we have witnessed over recent months as well as the critical challenges of managing increasing tourism flows underline the need to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient sector and ensure recovery goes hand-in-hand with rethinking of our sector.”

These results show international tourism remains well on track to reach 80 percent to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. The reopening of China and other Asian markets and destinations is expected to continue boosting travel both within the region and to other parts of the world.

The challenging economic environment, persisting inflation and rising oil prices have translated into higher transport and accommodation costs and could weigh on spending patterns over the remainder of the year.

– CAJ News














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