Tourism: dry season for Africa due to Covid-19


The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announces a 74% drop in tourism worldwide in 2020, or 1 trillion euros in global losses. Africa lost 70% of arrivals in 2020, according to the latest UNWTO barometer, like Europe and the Americas (-69%). Losses are lower than in the Middle East (-75%) and Asia-Pacific (-84%).

In Egypt, tourism had finally regained its form, lost since the revolution of 2011. With 13.6 million visitors in 2019, the country was back on top, as the first African destination. There were only 3.5 million in 2020, a decrease of 74.3%.

Covid tests on arrival in Egypt

The sector, which accounts for 12% of GDP and employment, was hit even harder in 2020 as the country was among the most affected by Covid-19 in Africa. The borders, closed in March, reopened in July, but only 400,000 visitors arrived between July and November, according to Khaled Al-Anani, the tourism minister.

Small hotels closed in Morocco

The kingdom of Morocco, Africa’s second destination with 12.9 million visitors in 2019, lost in 2020 one of the reactors of its economy. Tourism, 11% of GDP in 2019, is the main provider of jobs (25% of the workforce). In April, the kingdom was counting a drop of 39%, ultimately twice as strong as expected: -78% of arrivals from January to the end of October 2020, according to the Minister of Tourism, with a drop in foreign exchange receipts of -63 %, and 35% of employees in the sector made redundant, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Unemployment on the rise in South Africa

In South Africa, with 10.23 million visitors in 2019, Tourism represents 2.9% of GDP directly, and 8.6% indirectly. In Durban, the Hilton suspended operations in January, 2020.

(Rfi – Africa)

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