Home » Tourism: Africa recorded 75% decline in international tourist arrivals, 52million dip in 2020 due to COVID impact

Tourism: Africa recorded 75% decline in international tourist arrivals, 52million dip in 2020 due to COVID impact

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As nations in Africa looks to wriggle itself away from the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic which has left indelible scarce on it socio and economic life, report by onlinelibrary.wiley.com show that international tourist arrivals in the continent declined by 75% with a loose of 52 million tourists, a decrease from 70 million to 18 million in 2020.

According to the report Africa’s decline is second only to Asia and the Pacific’s fall of 84%. Africa’s largest drop (−98%) was in April 2020, followed by May 2020 (−96%).

READ: Africa: Why tourism haven, Seychelles, the most vaccinated country in the world is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases

Unfortunately, the overall prospects of a rebound in 2021 seem to have worsened as experts foresee growing demand for open‐air and nature‐based tourism activities, with domestic tourism and ‘slow travel’ experiences gaining increasing interest.

Global tourism has been one of the most affected sectors during the COVID‐19 crisis. According to UN World Tourism Organization (2021a), 2020 was the worst year in tourism history with one billion fewer international arrivals—a drop of 74%—resulting from the unprecedented fall in demand and widespread travel restrictions following the pandemic (UN World Tourism Organization, 2021b).

READ: Tourism: 6 African countries account for 53.7% of active coronavirus cases, as figures show North Africa has highest number of cases with 33.6%

This compares with the 4% decline recorded during the 2007–2009 global economic crisis. The collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of US$1.3 trillion in export revenues—more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2007–2009 global economic crisis.

Worse still, the pandemic has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of whom are in small and medium‐sized enterprises. Binggeli et al. (2020) forecast a cumulative global drop of US$3 trillion to US$8 trillion before tourism expenditure returns to pre‐COVID‐19 levels.

Data from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, online) Air Traffic Dashboards show that African airports experienced a revenue loss of US$2.84 billion in 2020 while airline carriers lost US$10.42 billion during the same period.

In addition, Africa’s navigational losses stood at US$570.76 million, while the operation impact on air transport (losses) in 2020 relative to 2019 was −510,265, representing a decline of 53.35%.

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