ADDIS ABABA, Africa has recorded robust growth in tourism with international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues growing at 6.0 per cent and 9.0 per cent respectively each year over the last two decades, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

UNCTAD, in its 2017 Economic Development in Africa Report released here this week, said the findings should encourage African countries to harness the dynamism of the tourism sector.

By collecting and comparing data from two different periods -- from 1995 to 1998 and from 2011 to 2014 -- the report reveals that international tourist arrivals to Africa more than doubled from 24 million to 56 million. The figure is forecast to grow to 134 million by 2030.

Tourism revenues, meanwhile, have more than tripled, rising from 14 billion US dollars to approximately 47 billion USD, between 1995 and 2014. As a result, tourism is now estimated to contribute about 8.5 per cent to the continent's gross domestic product (GDP), the report says.

Some four out of 10 international tourists visiting Africa came from the continent itself, the UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report says, adding that data backing these findings show that, contrary to perceptions, Africans themselves are increasingly driving tourism demand in Africa.

The report notes that the first 10-year implementation plan of the African union's Agenda 2063 development strategy aims to double the contribution of tourism to the continent's GDP. It adds that in order to unlock the tourism potential, African governments should adopt measures which support local sourcing, encourage local entities' participation in the tourism value chain and boost infrastructure development.


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