Africa’s tourism sector rebounds

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By Conrad Onyango, Bird Story Agency

With the easing of Covid-19 related restrictions, the tourism sector in Africa has started to show signs of recovery as international arrivals start to increase, airlines are reviving and offering new routes and increased frequencies, and international hotel chains are reopening.

News that French hotel giant Accor has reopened Nairobi’s Fairmont The Norfolk after closing the hotel for nearly two years, as well as Dubai’s public carrier Emirates announcing plans for two daily flights to Mauritius from June, are the latest signs of growing tourist interest and an increase in arrivals to Africa.

Africa’s tourism markets are rebounding as the continent’s economies continue to ease Covid-19 rules to bolster their economies.

“The hotel and the regional Accor team have worked closely together to reopen the hotel and its facilities,” Accor Kenya Managing Director Mehdi Morad said in a notice.

The reopening of the Norfolk Hotel also highlights Kenya’s resumption of international conference and event activity – for years a mainstay of its tourism sector.

PrideInn Group, a chain of local hotels with establishments in Nairobi and Mombasa, has not only recognized the impact of regional intra-African tourism, but has seen many more tourists from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Nigeria during the pandemic period. He also notes that the number of international tourists has been increasing since last year.

“In 2021, international arrivals have been chosen [up] compared to 2020,” said PrideInn Group of Hotels Managing Director Hasnain Noorani.

Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism forecasts international arrivals to top one million in 2022 after growing 53.29% to 870,465 visitors in 2021 from 567,848 in 2020.

In South Africa, Cape Town tourist destinations are also buzzing with the latest figures showing a return in traveler confidence.

Official data from the Cape Town and Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency shows that February 2022 saw the highest number of international passengers – 25,861 – since international travel resumed in October 2020 This figure represents a recovery rate of 52% compared to 2019.

“We are seeing clear and exciting indications of a recovery in the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape, having suffered a severe blow due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions. “said the Western Cape provincial finance and economy minister. Opportunities, David Maynier.

In late March, South Africa dropped mandatory negative Covid-19 results for inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated, with the relaxation of rules believed to boost tourism and economic activities in the country.

In North Africa, Egypt has launched an eight-week virtual promotional campaign targeting international tourists from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and the United States of America. A campaign called “Follow the Sun” marketed Egyptian tourist sites for the summer 2022 season.

The resumption of international flights, both within and to/from the mainland, has also intensified.

Since April 9, Emirates Airlines has started offering nine weekly flights to Mauritius using a Boeing 777 as it prepares to change equipment to use Airbus A380s, for its double daily service to exploit bookings in the island nation.

“Emirates’ second daily flight will provide a significant boost to tourism to the Indian Ocean destination, which has now eased entry restrictions for travellers,” the airline said in a statement.

The Dubai-based super-connector said additional flights will also offer customers wishing to fly to Mauritius from markets in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East more choice in flight schedules and seamless connectivity.

According to a March 2022 update from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), a significant number of African airlines have opened international routes that did not exist before Covid-19, while others have reopened. most of their previous routes, in anticipation of a greater flow of tourists and business travelers.

“African airlines had restored about 80.8% of their pre-Covid international routes, although frequencies remained low,” AFRAA said.

Intra-African connectivity reached 80% of its pre-Covid level in December 2021.

Data from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer released in March 2022 shows that international arrivals to Africa increased from 16.2 million in 2020 to 18.5 million in 2021. Although this represents an increase of 4.4%, it remains 76% lower than 2019 figures of 68.2 million. However, a positive outlook in the airline industry has been recorded by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) whose data shows that African airlines recorded a 69.5% increase in passenger traffic in February compared to compared to 2021 figures.

In January, year-over-year traffic was just 20.5%, indicating the potential for a sustained recovery.

“The resumption of air travel is accelerating as governments in many parts of the world lift travel restrictions. States that persist in trying to lock down the disease, rather than manage it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that restoring international connectivity will bring,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh. .

/bird story agency

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