Hotspots, not trouble spots: Africa seeks tourism boom

Africa draws just 5% of the world’s tourists despite boasting attractions ranging from the Pyramids and Victoria Falls to wildlife safaris and endless strips of pristine beach.

But the continent’s huge potential can be unlocked by eco tourism, cultural experiences, domestic travel and political stability, said experts at an African tourism conference hosted by Airbnb in Cape Town last week.

“When you look at the success stories, it’s those countries who’ve embraced trends,” said the African Tourism Association’s (ATA) managing director Naledi Khabo who spoke at the summit.

“When you look at some countries which have made sustainability a focal point, like Tanzania, or Rwanda, they’re very attractive for certain travellers.”

Eco-friendly safaris and carbon-neutral lodging draw increasing numbers of tourists from Europe and North America.

The number of tourists visiting Tanzania has more than doubled since 2006 to above one million contributing 14% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to Tanzania Invest.

Khabo, who speaks for the African tourism sector, said other success stories included South Africa, “which is promoting the diversification of their products beyond the safari”.

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