With a 3.6% real GDP growth in Q1 2017, the world economy has remained strong, surpassing the earlier forecast at 3.5% for 2017-2018. This growth, according to Euromonitor International, is and continue to be highly driven by emerging markets which account for approximately 74% of the world’s real GDP expansion, and a predicted share of up to 79% by 2020.
Image by Susan Leggett
Among top sectors contributing to this economic development is the Travel and Tourism industry, directly accounting for US$2.3 trillion (10.2% of the world’s GDP) and 109 million jobs (1 in 10) globally in 2016. However, the sector’s agility has had to withstand the pressures of global uncertainties especially related to political stands across the world. The Brexit, Trump travel ban, the North Korea looming standoff with Japan and United States, are some of the major challenges cited in the report.
Quoted in the Global Economic Impact & Issues 2017 report, the President & CEO, of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill says, “This is the sixth year in a row that Travel & Tourism has outpaced the global economy, showing the sector’s resilience, and the eagerness of people to continue to travel and discover new places, despite economic and political challenges across the world.”
World Inbound Tourism Performance
Source: Euromonitor International
In Africa, though several top tourism countries continue to hold up to qualms, there continues to be impressive performance from individual states as well as in the entire continent. In the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC list of countries showing strong international travel & tourism growth between 2010-2016 for instance, is Sudan and Cameroon, perhaps two surprising entries given their political background. Others would include Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Tanzania among others. This is highly attributed to among other factors their prioritization of the sector, open border policies, and investment in infrastructure.
Africa has experienced solid growth in the last decade; from just about 14.7 million visitors in 1990, to 26 million at the turn of the millennium and the recently recorded 58 million international arrivals in 2016. It’s evident that the sector has withered several storms to its maturity; clearing geographical misconceptions, overcoming calamities, and resiliently shaping its position on the global map. Continued investment in developing products, strategic marketing and promotion as well as conducive political environment will in no doubt go a long way in steering forward the sector to meeting set projection.
Credit: Josephine Wawira