By Fridah Mlemwa
Did you know that Africa’s tourism fetches more money from local tourists? according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) domestic tourism contributes 56 percent of Africa’s revenue from tourism. The other 44 percent comes from foreign tourists.
Although African tourism adverts are targeted at foreigners, several African countries are experiencing a strong increase in domestic tourism, notably Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Rwanda.
People are traveling more and more across their countries and in the continent as well.
E-commerce company Jumia released a 2019 hospitality report on Africa with research conducted across 40 African countries.
‘‘Domestic tourism is already a reality. People are traveling more and more across their country and in the continent as well. For instance in Kenya, where I live, the domestic tourism has been a key growth driver in the industry in the recent years. I think last year, the domestic tourism increased by like 30 to 40 percent. This is very interesting to know. You know, the volume spent by the local traveler in Africa is higher than the international tourist even if the local traveler spend per person is often lower.all the economy around tourism and travel represent 8.1 percent today of the African GDP which is great,’‘ said Abdesslam Benzitouni, head of communication & public relations, Jumia.
Mr. Benzitouni went further into their knowledge of why domestic tourism seems to be growing in Africa,’‘For instance in Kenya, if you check the domestic tourism mostly, is growing because of different factors. We have the middle class, who have the aspiration to travel more, we have better access to the travel information thanks to the boom of smartphones, internet and social media are becoming the main source of information, travel is becoming more and more affordable, thanks to online services like Jumia travel, like you see in our report drop of the room price by 40percent, we also have growing bed capacity in the continent and also development of low cost airlines.’‘
It is interesting to me that despite the lack of initiatives to boost local media tourism, locals are contributing more. So, how can african governments and organizations promote domestic tourism ?
‘‘I think it is a good example, in Kenya, I think they did a lot in terms of tax, the airport tax for instance, the airport tax are very low,and when you have airport tax very low you encourage the locals. You have different local companies, airlines companies in Kenya who are operating, doing domestic routes in Kenya,“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, adding, “In west Africa mostly, like if ivory Coast, you have air Cote d’ivoire but the prices are very very expensive. The airport tax are very very high and the infrastructure sometimes are very bad. So how can you improve the domestic tourism and encourage the local tourism to travel within the country if the infrastructures are not there, if the airport tax are high? Because if you want to attract international tourists you have to have these domestic residents traveling inside the countries.’‘
With over 1.1 billion Africans expected to be middle class by 2050. African governments need to invest in infrastructure, reduce local flight tax and create initiatives to promote new locations for local tourism.
In a survey to know where our viewers lean towards,we found that 69 percent of our respondents said they have travelled and the other 31 percent said they have not enjoyed a holiday in their country. 38 percent of our respondents said they would pick a free local trip while the remaining 62 percent said preferred a free trip abroad. Definitely food for thought.