Travel and tourism remained one of the key growth drivers of Africa’s economy, contributing 8.5 percent of the GDP in 2018; equivalent to $194.2 billion.
According to the 2019 Jumia Hospitality Report for Africa, this growth record placed the continent as the second-fastest growing tourism region in the world, with a growth rate of 5.6 percent after Asia Pacific and against a 3.9 percent global average growth rate.
“Our focus is to continue showcasing Africa as a continent full of beauty and opportunity. Through this report, we want to help draw attention to the vast potential of the tourism industry, that we believe is an untapped lever of economic growth,” said Jumia’s Head of Travel, Estelle Verdier. She was speaking during the official release of the annual report at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Addis Ababa, ahead of the 2019 World Tourism Day.
Africa received 67 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, to record a 7 percent increase from 63 million arrivals in 2017 and 58 million in 2016. This gradual increase is attributed to the affordability and ease of travel especially within the continent, with spending among domestic travelers accounting for 56 percent as compared to 44 percent international expenditure. Additionally, leisure travel remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority of 71 percent of the tourist expenditure in 2018.
Verdier notes that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is expected to further boost domestic travel. “To realize the full potential gains will require cooperation from all industry players. Governments have to be willing to eliminate visa requirements for African nationals traveling to their countries. Ministries and other responsible partner organizations should create campaigns that will promote their local travel destinations and tourism offerings to attract more regional travelers. At Jumia, we will continue to offer diversified products at affordable prices including resident rates for regional travelers booking through our platform”.
The report, now in its third edition, shows that while pay-at-hotel remained the most popular mode of payment among travelers booking via Jumia’s travel platform, its percentage use went down from 65 percent in 2018 to 62 percent in 2019. Card transactions gained popularity with a 24 percent jump within the same period, “and this reflects an increased trust in our booking platform,” Verdier affirmed.
On the other hand, the use of mobile money and travel agencies decreased by 11 percent and 20 percent respectively. The mobile, as a source of traffic on the Jumia Travel platform, accounted for a record 74 percent in 2019 from 57 percent in 2018, seen as a result of the increased mobile penetration in the continent. The mobile industry contributed $144 billion to Africa’s economy (8.6 percent of total GDP) in 2018, up from $110 billion (7.1 percent of total GDP) in 2017.
TradeArabia News Service