WTTC: Africa's travel & tourism industry to grow at record levels

Africa is set to develop the world's fastest growing Travel & Tourism market over the next 10 years, alongside Asia-Pacific, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

This will be the key message of David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, when he delivers his keynote speech to aviation and travel industry leaders at the 21st World Route Development Forum taking place at the Durban International Conference Centre (Durban ICC) in South Africa on 19 - 22 September.

According to Scowsill, the growth of Africa's Travel & Tourism industry is on course to reach 4.9% for the sector's direct contribution to GDP over the next decade, equalling the growth of the Asia-Pacific region. This unprecedented growth rate underscores the strength of the region's potential compared to the estimated forecast increase in other regions of the world over the next decade - notably the Middle East 4.6%; the Americas 3.8%, Europe 2.8% and the overall worldwide growth 3.9%.

Scowsill says: "The world has mostly been focused on Asia-Pacific as the fastest growing region, but our latest figures demonstrate the potential in Africa's Travel & Tourism industry, which is ripe for investment. However, the region's current forecast of 4.5% growth in Travel & Tourism capital investment per year over the next ten years is still well below the growth for investment in the Asia-Pacific region, forecast at 5.7%, and the world overall.

"Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies. Tremendous opportunities exist to further expand tourism across the African continent, yet growth doesn't happen by itself and challenges remain.

To fully realise the expanded potential, African nations must collectively focus on four key areas: first, expanded investment in tourism infrastructure; second, improved connectivity and air liberalisation - a move towards a fairer open skies policy; third, common visas across multiple countries: and fourth, investment in human capital to build the capacity and skill set of the workforce.

The economic potential of tourism in Africa is remarkable but for this to materialise it is critical that individual nations strengthen their unique branding positions to help fulfil the forecasted growth."

Scowsill will expand on this important theme in his keynote address on the second day of the World Routes Strategy Summit, to be held on 20 and 21 September at the Durban ICC. The Summit, which is open to all World Routes delegates, features more than 50 speakers from over 20 countries. Other speakers include Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World; Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines; Giorgio Callegari, Deputy CEO of Aeroflot, and senior executives of IATA, Airbus, Boeing, Air China, Fastjet, Vueling, Tourism Australia, Visit Scotland, Malaysia Airports, China Business Network, Air Zimbabwe, VivaAerobus, Southwest Airlines, Brand USA, Condor, Kenya Airways, Visit Florida and SimpliFlying.

The Strategy Summit will bring together senior leaders and key stakeholders from aviation, airports and tourism to participate in discussions affecting aviation and travel today, such as route development, infrastructure, airport growth, security, visa restrictions, regulatory challenges and how new airline service can change a city's or a country's fortunes.