Tourism growth in Africa opens up opportunities for Mozambique and other Portuguese-speaking countries

Tourism is growing significantly in Africa and Mozambique is one of the destinations that has benefited from the increase in the number of foreign tourists, according to figures released by the Euromonitor International consultancy.

The Euromonitor study shows that international arrivals to Africa are growiing by 6.5% in 2017 so far, reaching 18.55 million, compared to 16.351 million in 2012, with the number of visitors continuing to grow sharply and expected to reach 25 million in 2022.

South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Cameroon, Mauritius and Tanzania accounted for 70% of international travel to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the study presented on the sidelines of the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Kigali , Rwanda.

The growth can be attributed, according to the consultancy, to better connections to the continent and the diversification of destinations and types of supply, within the various countries.

Tourism is a way for African countries to diversify their economic base, in addition to the extraction of natural resources, with countries such as Angola prioritising the development of the sector, which is important for increasing revenues and foreign currency income.

Developing and emerging countries are the “stars” of the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report recently published by the World Economic Forum, which concludes that most of them “have significantly improved their performance since 2015” when the previous edition was published.

According to surveys by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), India will be the destination with the most growth in leisure travel between 2016 and 2026, followed by Angola, Uganda, Brunei, Thailand, China, Myanmar, Oman, Mozambique and Vietnam.

The tourism competitiveness report also highlights the sector’s great growth potential, in particular due to the expected growth of the world middle class by 2031 – an additional 3 billion people, most of them in China, India and emerging countries.

Mozambique is one of the countries with the best performance, eight places above 2015, in 122nd place.

“The strengths of Mozambican competitiveness for tourism and travel continue to be its natural resources and its very open visa policy. (…) Although there is still no natural attraction on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Mozambique has slightly increased its protected areas and has managed to improve knowledge of its extraordinary natural resources, from safari parks to beaches and virgin islands,” it said.

According to the World Economic Forum, Mozambican tourism potential is largely untapped, and investments in infrastructure, human resources and health and hygiene conditions are needed, which would enhance the competitiveness of the sector and the economy in general.

Cabo Verde climbed three places to 83rd place, with higher scores on the “air transport infrastructure” criteria (43rd, with the 2nd highest density of airports in relation to the size of the population), “Environmental sustainability” (44) and “price competitiveness” (49).

The Cape Verdean Government’s programme aims to be among the 30 most competitive countries in the world and among the five in Africa in terms of tourism by 2021.

Portugal is the best-placed Portuguese-speaking country in 14th place, one place above the 2015 list, followed by Brazil in 27th, which also rose one place. (macauhub)