The African hospitality and tourism industry is on the rise. The rise of the middle class on the continent is driving the dynamics in the sector. The new trend is the significant contribution of African travelers who spend more and more, thus supporting the growth of local tourism and the development of hotel chains.
Spending by African travelers is expected to reach some $ 73 billion this year, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2016. Last year, spending contributed 63.7 percent of the continent’s tourism GDP. For the next ten years, the expected annual growth is of the order of 3.6%, which will raise the amount of spending by African travelers to 104 billion dollars. This is one of the most interesting aspects to emerge from the report just published by the online booking platform Jumia Travel and the hotel chain Accor Hotels. Under the title, “Hospitality Report Africa 2017”, the document analyzed the main development trends of the hospitality industry in Africa, as well as the outlook for the sector which also faces many challenges.

Africans are therefore traveling more and more and the first sector to take advantage of this dynamic is the hotel industry. In comparison to this contribution of local tourists, the expenditure of foreign visitors contributed with 36.3% in 2016 (40.7 billion dollars) and should grow by 5.3% in 2017, to 42.9 billion dollars. , then 5.9% per year to reach $ 76 billion in 2027.

At a time when the persistence of certain risks, in particular security, medical or even political risks is quite often accompanied by episodic drops in the number of foreign tourists to certain destinations, the contribution of African travelers allows the industry to maintain the momentum started a few years ago. More than serving as a relay, the spending of local tourists represents an important part of African economic growth. In 2016, the latter’s contribution to Africa’s overall GDP was 7.8%, or 165.6 billion in value, and it should experience a relative increase this year to appreciate to 7.9%, or $ 170.5 billion. According to the projections of the report which was presented last Tuesday in Abidjan, this contribution should then grow by 4.6% per year to reach 268.2 billion dollars by 2027.

Sustained dynamics

In general, the report confirms the trends already noted by previous studies on the fairly sustained dynamics as well as the bright prospects facing the sector in Africa. However, “Hospitality Report Africa 2017” sheds new light on the behavior and habits of “African tourists”. They are certainly spending more and more, are gradually grafting onto the use of new technologies which is gaining momentum in the sector and are starting to book or pay online, even if cash is still predominant.

In 2027, for example, the number of tourist arrivals is expected to reach 110 million, slightly less than double the rate recorded in 2016 when it was 58 million.

The main sources of international origins in 2016 are not surprisingly Europe, with a share of 47.3%, while Asia-Pacific is the market with the fastest growth with an increase of + 21.7% with a significant proportion of Chinese tourists. The report also notes that most of Africa’s top 10 destinations have performed positively after the Ebola epidemic crisis, although countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia have seen their foreign visitors drop by 4. % and 0.8% respectively. Another finding from the report is that the destinations that have recorded the highest growth in terms of international arrivals are Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Ghana, Sudan and Seychelles. Morocco (over 10 million), Egypt (9.1 M), South Africa (8.9 M), Tunisia (5.36 M) and Zimbabwe (2.06 M) are the main countries popular with tourists on the continent. In detail, the main destinations, especially for business tourism, are Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, Abidjan, Casablanca and Cairo.

Hotel investments on the rise

“The hotel and travel industry is an important lever for the development of the economy in Africa,” the report summarizes. The rise of a growing middle class, combined with a relaxation of intra-African transport rules, are the main drivers of the development of local and continental tourism, according to the same source, who also adds that in addition to these factors In addition to growth, the massive investment of hotel chains to major business destinations such as Lagos, Nairobi, Abidjan, Accra and Johannesburg, as well as the increase in air traffic to these cities by the main airlines.

According to the census drawn up by the report, a total of 365 projects for the construction of hotels of international chains were reported in Africa in 2016, representing some 64,231 rooms and corresponding to an increase of 29%, compared to 2015. “Nigeria and Angola have the highest number of international chain hotel construction projects in 2016-2017, with 61 and 56 hotels respectively, or nearly 30% of total continent-wide projects. and 20% more than in 2015 ”, also reports the document. Finally in terms of African cities, Lagos takes the lead in the number of rooms planned with 4,000, while Nairobi takes 4th place with 2,666 rooms planned.

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