WITH 26,000km of coastline, a new travel report predicts that Africa is tipped to become the surfing capital of the world. According to a wide-sweeping trend report released out of the World Travel Market event in London, researchers say that the African continent is becoming a highly sought-after destination for a growing population of surfers.
It’s estimated that the global surfing community numbers 35 million. But by 2020, that number is predicted to swell to 50 million people worldwide, according to Surfer Today.
While South Africa already boasts an established reputation in the international surfing community, the report points out that surf tourism is developing in other countries like Madagascar, Zanzibar, Mozambique and Morocco.
The report by market research firm Euromonitor is also quick to point out, however, that the spread of the Ebola virus has had a negative impact on tourism in Western Africa this year, and could stall the development of surf tourism.
As part of its aim to become an official Olympic sport, the International Surfing Association (ISA) has made Africa a priority in its promotion of the sport, which they say can stimulate local economies by creating new jobs, boosting tourism and inspiring young people.
South Africa has been a surfing stronghold for years with annual national championships, the proliferation of surf schools and plans to open a surf museum. Of the ISA’s 86 members, 14 are from Africa.
Next year, Ghana hosts the Africa Surf Series, while specialist tour operators are already offering family surf and adventure holidays across the continent.
“Surfers are adventurous travellers and Africa offers them a vast coastline with undiscovered and uncrowded beaches,” said World Travel Market’s senior director, Simon Press.
Barring Ebola, the report also singles out Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and the Ivory Coast as the countries that will benefit most from surf tourism in Africa over the next five years. – AFP Relaxnews