Sustainable Tourism Development in Sub-Saharan Africa


The United Nations Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has estimated an increase of 3-5% in international arrivals on the continent due to the demand for air travel and more accessible visa procedures.

When the coronavirus struck, airports were closed, tourists stopped arriving, and the industry had to stop. Many countries on the continent also imposed locks, closing hotels, tour operators, event centers, and public transport.

According to the United Nations, the tourism industry - consisting of entertainment, accommodation, food, and operating circuits - employs more than 1 million people in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Loss of Income

It also accounts for more than 20% in Seychelles, Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Principe, and Mauritius. But due to the spread of Covid-19, many of its industries are reducing jobs and losing revenue. The UN estimates that the pandemic will cost up to 2 million direct and indirect jobs in tourism on the continent.

In Kenya, some hotels and boarding houses on the Kenyan coast reported occupancy rates of less than 7% in March, according to local media. Food services are not left out because business owners say they are forced to lay off workers or cut their wages.

The Future of Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Futurists say things will become more digital as technology plays an essential role in the accommodation and travel industry. People will start checking into hotels practically without going through receptionists. They will also buy plane tickets online and check-in, rather than at the counter. They will become more independent. They will want to do their laundry, maybe come to hotels with their cutlery. It will be about awareness of what we are achieving.

The global tourism industry will need at least ten months to recover from the effects of coronavirus, according to the UNWTO. For sub-Saharan Africa, maybe more. In April 2020, according to local media, the South African Ministry of Tourism launched a 200 million row (about $ 11 million) tourism aid fund, encouraging eligible businesses in the sector to apply.

According to Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the country's tourism minister, the fund must ensure the survival of hotels, resorts, restaurants, tour operators, and travel agencies. Governments should provide tax incentives, exemptions, business support programs, and insurance.

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