Africa Travel Week
Travel trends

Africa is open for business

The current travel situation across the world paints a dire picture with depressing international arrival figures, especially in the Asia Pacific and in Europe; with many countries still with closed borders.

So, upon glancing at the -71.2% in international arrivals to Africa compared to 2019 you too may be quick to get depressed. Fortunately, we have additional data that colours Africa in more promising hues.

Compared to the same time last year, travel restrictions across the Northern hemisphere have largely remained unchanged.

Meanwhile, when comparing to 2020, destinations across Africa have opened up quite significantly. To date, most countries on the continent only require a PCR test for entry with minimal or no quarantine requirements. What a refreshing step forward!

European countries have long been the main source markets for African tourism. However, what is noteworthy is the US resilience and their interest in long-haul travel to Africa.

Saudi Arabia is another interesting market to capture. After all, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), had invested around $4 billion in the energy, mining, telecoms, food and other sectors in Africa and plans to continue to look for new opportunities in other sectors in the continent.

Passenger profiles to Africa are changing

COVID-19 has decimated business travel. But on the flipside, VFR & Expats has proven to be the most resilient passenger segment – this is exciting news for travel operators and hoteliers because travellers are staying abroad longer and looking at fun activities to experience.

The share of travellers intending to take long stays of 22 nights or more has increased by 26% when compared to the same period in 2019. This trend is being underpinned by interest from VFR and Expat passengers, as well as pent-up demand for travel from key source markets. What are tourism boards and travel companies doing to encourage more long-term bookings?

These are just a few highlights demonstrating what ForwardKeys can do with our data to help tourism organisations and companies plan for the future, to anticipate the new wave of tourists. Africa is showing the world that is it possible to attract travellers by keeping its borders open and increasing seat capacity in the region and to the world.

Watch the full presentation by Shingai George, our Insights Analyst at the AviaDev Africa Conference below.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.