TOURISM growth in Sub-Saharan Africa shows an increase of a flat 0 per cent in the first half of this year, a United Nations Word Tourism Organisation report has revealed.
According to the January to June data for this year, the UNWTO estimates 671 million international tourist arrivals globally, almost 30 million more than in the same period in 2018.
“In Africa, limited available data points to a three per cent increase in international arrivals. North Africa (+9%) continues to show robust results, following two years of double-digit figures, while growth in Sub-Saharan Africa was flat (+0%),” the UNWTO report reveals.
The UNWTO added that growth in arrivals is returning to its historic trend and is in line with UNWTO’s forecast of three to four per cent growth in international tourist arrivals for the full year 2019, as reported in the January Barometer.
It further notes that so far, the drivers of these results have been a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation.
“However, weaker economic indicators, prolonged uncertainty about Brexit, trade and technological tensions and rising geopolitical challenges, have started to take a toll on business and consumer confidence, as reflected in a more cautious UNWTO Confidence Index,” the report indicates.
It shows that tourism growth in Europe was up by four per cent partly due to demand from overseas markets such as the US, China, Japan and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Asia and the Pacific saw a growth of six per cent largely fuelled by Chinese outbound travel.
“Growth was led by South Asia and North-East Asia (both + seven per cent), followed by South-East Asia (+five per cent), and arrivals in Oceania increased by one per cent,” the UNWTO noted.
The Americas saw a growth of two per cent while, the Middle East was at plus eight per cent as it saw two strong quarters, reflecting a positive winter season, as well as an increase in demand during Ramadan in May and Eid Al-Fitr in June.
The UNWTO also noted that the Chinese outbound tourism grew by plus 14 per cent in trips abroad and continued to drive arrivals in many destinations.
The report adds that out bound travel from the USA, the world’s second largest spender, remained solid at plus seven per cent, supported by a strong dollar.