Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global tourism industry contributed US$9.2 trillion or 10.4%, to global GDP. It was considered one of the fastest-growing industries, accounting for at least one in every four new jobs globally.
Fast forward to 2021, and the pandemic has all but crippled the sector. Tourism demand – arrivals, travel, and the use of facilities and services – contracted by an estimated 74% in 2020. This has cost the industry upwards of US$1.3 trillion and has compromised millions of jobs.
I would say this is the time to come to Tanzania without hesitation. We have new presidents now both in the mainland and in Zanzibar. The common focus is on tourism and how the industry can be enhanced.
The president of Zanzibar has drawn out a plan that will see Zanzibar up there with the likes of Mauritius and Seychelles as a tourist attraction. The potential is there and we are positioning ourselves to support national ambitions like that.
Incoming investors would do well to have pieces of property in the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. There is an airline system that connects those three destinations that can be fully taken advantage of. Investors don’t have to limit themselves to property ownership though. Investing in small aircraft services, for example, for exploring the various sites would also be a great investment.
Tourism on the African continent is on a positive growth trajectory. Indeed, tourism numbers on the continent have grown at a rate of 8.6% over the past year as compared to a global average of 7%. When it comes to tourism, Africa is the fastest-growing market in the world.
Despite this, there remain significant challenges to grow the levels of Intra-African tourism, with many of Africa's tourists finding it easier and more attractive to travel to Europe or Asia.
Tourism acts a catalyst to wider economic growth and economic integration. Increased growth and collaboration between Africa's tourism destinations could act as a significant job creator across the continent. Where do Africa's leaders see opportunity in the future of Intra-African tourism?