Tourism in Africa: A priceless  resource with untapped potential

19Feb 2019
The Guardian
 Tourism in Africa: A priceless  resource with untapped potential

Although there has been a significant increase in tourism in Africa, the sector’s abundant potential remains largely untapped on the continent.

Generating business volumes equivalent to the petroleum, agri-food and automotive industries, tourism is now an important growth driver for the African economy. World Bank figures show that tourism accounts for 8.8 per cent of the world’s employment and 4.5 per cent of global investment.

The 2015 Africa Monitor Tourism report, published by the African Development Bank (AFDB), paints a clear picture of the sector’s position in Africa. 2 Africa welcomed more than 55 million tourists in 2014, a remarkable increase compared with just over 17 million in 1990.

On average, tourism is expected to contribute more than 7 per cent to the GDP between now and 2020, creating 200,000 direct jobs and an overall total of 800,000 jobs. Growth in tourism also boosts activities in the construction and public works, transport, services, agriculture and traditional craft sectors.


However, there are still many obstacles to the success of Africa’s tourism sector, and there is a lot more work to be done before we reap the full economic and social benefits of the hotel business


For over half a century, tourism has been constantly expanding at a slower pace. Today this trend appears to be irreversible. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts, there will be over 1.6 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2020.

Although developing countries still share the minimal ratio of the international tourist flows, their performances are improving at a faster rate than the global average. Currently, tourism provides real potential for the economic and social progress. It generates valuable foreign currency exchange and government revenues through taxation. It as well could be a major source of employment.

In Tanzania the number of tourists that is coming to see firsthand the majestic natural wonders of Tanzania is blessed with like the Mt Kilimanjaro fall, the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro   as well as the man made tourist attraction sites.


The smokeless industry in general and culture tourism in particular are exhibiting an upward spiral in the country. This could be gauged or figured out from the various fruitful strides being made in the sector.

The country's positive image and improved promotion mechanisms have increased the number of tourists and it has reached more than   million. Above all, peace and stability is a significant factor for this enhancement and effective international and regional conferences the Tanzania hosted so far.

The number of tourists visiting Dar es Salaam has been increasing year after year. The city is also expanding its infrastructures and hotels. A number of star hotels are also under construction.

Hence, the government should continue enhancing the tourism sector to unleash the potentials of the country's natural, historic, cultural and other attractions in a sustainable and globally competitive manner. All concerned bodies should maximize their efforts in boosting Tanzania's benefit from its untapped tourism potential and resources.

Thus, the tourism sector should be developed to be competitive in the global market. Attention must also be given to national parks, historical sites, diverse cultural heritages and other tourism potentials as well.

The Tanzania Tourism Board need to keep enhancing the tourism marketing development, capacity building, development of new and old tourist destinations, and strengthening cooperation and integration with stakeholders.

In this respect, the private sector has a key role in playing a vital part in the country's economic growth and development. As they enhance people's lives and help them escape from poverty, private sectors should be encouraged as a critical stakeholder in economic development.

The contribution of the private sector in the tourism sector should be stepped up to exploit the nation's potential. The country has done little to promote its historical and natural heritages which are unique to the world.

Indeed, in spite of the fact the country has got untapped tourism potential little has been used so far. In this regard, all stakeholders have responsibility to promote nation's untapped potential.




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