African tourism loses nearly third of its jobs

The pandemic cost the African tourism sector more than 7 million jobs

27 September 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The tourism sector in Africa lost nearly a third of its jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

South African tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu said this during the Africa Travel and Tourism Summit.

The summit started on Monday, 20 September, and calls on all tourism role-players to reflect, reimagine and reignite a tourism sector in a bid to re-awaken Africa.

The summit is a hybrid event accommodating delegates participating physically and virtually. It is the first pan-African summit of its kind as it is being hosted in three cities simultaneously, namely Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos.

Sisulu said data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) indicates that tourism in Africa generated approximately N$3 trillion – accounting for 6.9% of Africa’s GDP – and had supported 24.7-million jobs.

7 million jobs

However, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, WTTC statistics show a decrease of about N$1.2 trillion and a loss of 7.2 million jobs.

Sisulu said that she was optimistic that despite the devastating impact of the pandemic, tourism on the African continent could bounce back by 2030.

She said that the World Tourism Organisation estimates that tourism in Africa could more than double to 134 million tourists in 2030 as opposed to the 50 million in 2010.

“Yet Africa as a whole is still considered a no-go zone. Many of our nations are on the UK red list of countries to avoid travelling to. Removing African countries from the red list of European countries is a challenge we should embrace and work steadfastly to bring to an end.”

From Namibia, Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (Fenata) chairperson Netumbo Nashandi participated in a panel discussion on exploring new ways of generating and sustaining businesses in a constrained environment.

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