UNWTO According to a report by the UNWTO, tourism can be a powerful tool for sustainable development in Africa.
As per the report, “To better harness the potential of the tourism sector, to contribute to inclusive growth, structural transformation and the achievement of the (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, Africa should adopt policies which strengthen inter-social linkages, boost international tourism and promote peace.”
The report says that between 2011 and 2014, tourism contributed 166 billion U.S. dollars to gross domestic product (GDP), making up 8.5 percent of the continent’s GDP, while at the same time providing 21 million jobs: 7.1 percent of all jobs in Africa.
UNWTO executive director for operational programs and institutional relations Marcio Favalla said 58 million international tourists visited Africa in 2016, 4 million more than in 2015. However, Favalla highlighted the need for better marketing “to improve perceptions of the continent and stronger focus on regional and domestic markets, along with investment on infrastructure” and the promotion of “safe, secure and seamless travel.” He also said better air connectivity would help improve links.
Claudia Roethlisberger, economist in the United Nations Conference of Research and Development (UNCTAD), stressed the importance of tourism throughout Africa,” given that it is labor intensive and that almost half of the jobs created were for women.”
Tourism also had a role to play in the promotion of peace in Africa. Roethlisberger said, “African governments and tourism authorities can play a role so that people from outside of the continent get a different picture to that presented in the international press.”