Three East African nations are among the top dozen fastest growing destinations for tourism worldwide.
According to the 2019 annual report from the World Travel and Tourism Council, Ethiopia is the fastest growing travel destination in the world with Rwanda in sixth place and Uganda at 12th.
Ethiopia’s tourism sector grew by a staggering 48.6 per cent in 2018, making up 9.4 per cent of the economy and creating 2.2 million jobs.
Over eight per cent of Ethiopia’s total workforce now work in tourism.
Rwanda also saw growth rates of 13.8 per cent and Uganda 11.3 per cent, with all three showing the pull of East Africa both in terms of its wildlife, history, and beaches.
Kenya also saw big growth in 2018 – at 5.6 per cent- which created 1.46 million jobs and made up 8.8 per cent of the total economy.
In its annual analysis quantifying the global economic and employment impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries and 25 regions, the World travel and tourism Council’s research reveals that the sector accounted for 10.4 per cent of global GDP and 319 million jobs or 10 per cent of total employment in 2018.
It adds that travel and tourism’s growth in 2019 is expected “to remain resilient” despite a slowing global economy.
“Our forecasts point to a 3.6 per cent expansion for Travel & Tourism, faster than an expected global economic growth of 2.9 per cent in 2019,” the report says.
It adds that one in five of all new jobs were created by travel and tourism over the past five years showing the growing importance of the sector to the global economy.
Travel and tourism GDP grew by 5.6 per cent in 2018, significantly above the African economic growth rate of 3.2 per cent.
This places Africa as the second fastest growing region in 2018, behind only Asia-Pacific.
Such growth is partly explained by North Africa’s rebound from security crises as well as the development and implementation of policies that stimulate travel promotion.