Cape Town - This week the world celebrates Africa Day, a date that honours the day 30 independent African countries signed a founding charter in Ethiopia.
It’s fitting therefore that the tourism industry in Africa is not only growing, but growing enough to be a focus at the recent Tourism Indaba held in Durban.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation adds to this, projecting that international tourist arrivals in Africa are to grow by four percent this year.
Managing Director of global flight search and travel deals platform Cheapflights.co.za, Andrew Shelton says: “Searches to African countries are on the rise, with travellers gravitating towards these destinations. But it’s not just international travellers that are flocking to the continent – our data shows that travel within African countries is also strong.”
As expected, the majority of searches for travel to Africa in 2016 are from countries traditionally looking to the continent as a holiday destination. The United Kingdom and Germany dominate searches for travel to Africa holding 14 percent and 13 percent of all searches to the continent respectively. The rest of the positions in the top five are also held by European countries - Denmark, Sweden and France.
South Africa dominates the top African destinations in Africa for international travellers, with Cape Town and Johannesburg taking the top positions. Traditional holiday destinations take up most of the rest of the top ten searched African destinations – Marrakech, Casablanca, Mauritius and the Mahe Island in the Seychelles, all appear alongside business destinations such as Accra and Lagos.
“We also see Egypt appearing as the third most searched African destination by international travellers so far in 2016. We saw a double digit drop in the days immediately after the recent EgyptAir tragedy, which we hope is a short lived reaction for a destination where tourism is such a vital industry”, explained Shelton.
The research by Cheapflights also showed that tourism is driving more travel out of South Africa, rather than business, with traditional holiday destinations also dominating the top ten cities and top ten countries for travel from South Africa.
Mauritius, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Morocco all sit within the top ten searched African destinations for South Africans. The same pattern is reflected in the top cities or destinations searched for, with Victoria Falls and Harare giving Zimbabwe two spots in the top ten.
The least popular African countries for travel from South Africa are Uganda, Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Top 5 international travellers to Africa:
1. United Kingdom
Top 5 destinations in Africa by international travellers (2016 searches to date):
1. Cape Town/Joburg
Adapted from a press release for IOL