Certainly since the turn of the century we have seen nations within Northern Africa enjoy higher levels of tourism compared to the decades prior, particularly in Egypt. Historic landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings have been strong attractions for many years, but more recently ‘sun, sea and sand’ destinations like Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh have proved far more popular.
Tourism statistics show that over a ten year period visitors to Egypt have trebled. In 2000 the World Tourism Organisation recorded a figure of near 5 million tourists coming to the African nation, while in 2010 that figure was in excess of 14 million.
Those figures indicated a rise in interest for tourism in Egypt, but they also bring attention to Africa as a whole. Countries like South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania – among others – are all heavily investing in hotels and attractions in order to capitalise on the growth of tourism throughout the continent.
Here’s a look at what plans are in store for some developing nations:
According to the World Travel and Tourism council, currently tourism contributes over 13% to Kenya’s economy. The government aims to improve that figure making improvements in the standard of facilities available in resorts along the Kenyan Coast.
Various international brands have expressed interest in opening hotels in Kenya, while in the past few years the Hemmingways Hotel and the Red Cross’s 5 star Bama Hotel have been erected.
However, Kenya is still regarded as a developing nation in many areas, which is why officials are keenly trying to boost national revenue through tourism. The country is currently accepting aid from people volunteering abroad in the more deprived areas.
The success of the FIFA 2012 World Cup and the recent African Cup of Nations football tournaments have seen an expected boom in tourism, but it also meant a much needed upgrade to attractions and facilities in the nation’s major cities.
While it seems like South Africa has enjoyed a healthy cash injection of late, they could even be looking forward to future large international events. The South African National Conventions Bureau – created in 2012 – has confirmed the organisation of 87 events to be hosted in various hotels and centres over the next 4 years. This is expected to contribute just short of £200m to the South African economy.
Tanzania probably isn’t top of most people’s wish list but it is blessed with a variety of fascinating wildlife ideal for a summer safari. After gold, tourism is the nation’s top earner, so it’s no surprise that their government are about to implement a five year plan to make the country more accessible and attractive as a tourist destination.
Tanzania is looking to bring money together from private and public sectors in order to start marketing campaigns aimed at Western European and Northern American countries. Currently there are many groups who volunteer overseas from those nations who will have enjoyed the true nature of Tanzania first hand. Those people may yet be their best form of free advertising!
Africa as a whole has enjoyed a huge increase in tourism numbers over the last decade, but those numbers still look likely to increase. Currently there is plenty of interest from China – which is mainly put down to the ease in which travel is possible between the two. Also, Africa is a truly unique destination that is largely unexplored by most frequent travellers, so there remains a lot of mystery and intrigue to experience.