Tourism to Egypt represents about 10% of the economy. The recent and current state of unrest in the country is having a terrible effect on employment in a country which badly needs it. Whilst tourists have almost completely disappeared from Cairo and Luxor (and the Valley of the Kings), visitor numbers to the Red Sea resorts are holding relatively strong. This is due mostly to the fact that visitors have prepaid their package trips and most government travel advisories have not issued any warnings about this area.
Tourism is a fickle industry. One year’s hot destination can collapse the next. Our industry colleagues in Kenya can testify to that when violent general elections virtually imploded tourism numbers.
What are the trends? Last year 2012 saw tourism numbers increase to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by 4.7%, higher than the global average of 4.3% and second only to the Asia Pacific region with 5.1%. Total visitor numbers in 2012 for SSA are 36 million. When you put into context that France receives about 70 million tourists a year, you can see the potential growth. The BRIC countries of China (+42%) and Russia (+31%) showed the highest percentage growth in outbound tourism numbers with +42% and +31% respectively followed closely by India. These are the new markets which the SSA region is begin to focus on.
South Africa dominates the SSA region for tourism. The 2010 Football World Cup showcased to the world what a dynamic and beautiful country South Africa is and importantly, what a good infrastructure the country enjoys. For the cost conscious traveller, the fact that the South African rand has decreased by 18% against the US dollar and British pound since the 1st January 2013 is an added bonus.
One man’s calamity (or country’s calamity) is another country’s opportunity. So is the case for North Africa to the SSA region. We at Uyaphi are not complaining.
Tourism to North Africa suffers by Nicolas Edwards