Considered one of the fastest-growing industries in the pre-pandemic era, the tourism industry contributed US$9.2 trillion or 10.4%, to global GDP. Fast forward to 2022, and the industry is still struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The African Union estimated that Africa lost nearly 55 billion US dollars in tourism revenues, with a global loss estimated at upwards of US$1.3 trillion. Industry leaders in Africa are joining their counterparts across the globe to create innovations that would revive tourism in the continent.
In South Africa, the tourism industry’s recovery is driven by digital technology and diversifying the market. Being one of the foremost industries to digitalize services, tourism in South Africa is on its way to a full recovery with new tech experiences to make travel more convenient and safe for tourists.
Talking about safety, some of the major blocks to the growth of African tourism ranges from high taxes on tourism investments to internal violent conflicts, and visa bureaucracy. Industry leaders believe tackling these obstacles will attract more capital to African tourism.
A government/industry partnership is also a key strategy in reviving tourism in Africa. The partnership can facilitate investment programmes to stimulate foreign investments.
A transformation project targettted at reviving the industry is the of the Eco-Innovation Hub, invented by product innovator Craig Llewellyn-Williams and Mantis CEO Paul Gardiner in 2021. In this innovation hub, suppliers can test and develop off-the-grid, low-impact accommodations as well as green energy innovations.
In all, experts still believe the industry’s recovery is certain as confirmed by recent statistical data. Based on the data released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Friday, March 25, global international tourist arrivals more than doubled (130 percent) in January 2022 compared to January 2021.