Tourism : Africa, a new horizon for tour operators

Africa is on the rise. Tunisia and Egypt are once again becoming attractive and new destinations are opening up in Africa. 417 hotel projects are currently being carried out by the major chains on the continent, which is preparing to double the number of tourists. 110 million international travellers are expected in 2030.

Tourists are back in North Africa with the confirmed recovery of Tunisia (+83%), Egypt and Mauritania. These countries hope to have turned the black page on terrorism. Morocco also continued to grow (+12%).

Destinations that were previously neglected due to political instability, such as Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, are also back this year to court French tour operators.

A growing interest
Still not very popular with international tourists, the African continent is attracting growing interest: « This year, African destinations have had the strongest growth within Voyageurs du Monde, » says Jean-François Rial, CEO of the group, which includes the Terres d’Aventure, Comptoir des Voyages and Allibert Trekking brands.

Surfing on the call of wide open spaces and wildlife, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and Ethiopia are rated « with expensive but impeccable services », underlining that it is « often very high-end tourism », he continues.

South Africa first crossed the ten million tourist mark in 2016. Just behind Morocco and its 11.3 million visitors.

The lines are moving
Some African destinations are still in their infancy in terms of tourism. This is the case of Chad, which has specially sent Madeleine Alingué, its Minister of Tourism Development, Culture and Handicrafts, to the Tourism Fair. « We want to change Chad’s image, work has been done in the region to improve stability, » says Madeleine Alingué, who acknowledges that she is embarking on « initiatory work, recognition and localization » in her country.

Everywhere, there is a need to train qualified personnel and upgrade infrastructure. Millions of jobs are at stake and a single trip can support several families during a season.

Algeria, Rwanda and Mozambique are cautiously entering the sector to diversify their economies.

Africa: a new horizon
In 2017, international tourist arrivals on the continent increased by 9%, a rate higher than the world average.

According to the African Tourism Monitor 2018, 417 hotel projects are currently in the hands of major hotel chains, compared to 365 in 2016 and 250 in 2015. The Accor group has announced the creation of a €1 billion investment fund dedicated to African hotels, in partnership with a Qatari fund. About forty hotels (9000 rooms) should thus be created in the first phase.

In addition to international tourism, hotels are also designed to accommodate business travellers, but also the new African middle class. Despite the lack of Internet connection, Airbnb is also growing rapidly on the continent. And according to one study, among the eight fastest growing countries « three are in Africa: Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique ».

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