Strong recovery in Africa and Middle East

The UNWTO reports that international tourist arrivals in Africa increased by 4% in the first six months of 2018; the Middle East increased by 4.6% in the same period.

In 2017, international tourist arrivals to Africa reached 63 million, a 9% increase on the 2016 tourist numbers. Africa’s international tourism receipts totalled €1.4 bn, an increase of 8%

In North Africa, Tunisia continued to rebound strongly in 2017 with a 23% growth in arrivals, while Morocco (+9.8%) also enjoyed better results after weaker demand in the previous year.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, strong performance continued in large destinations Kenya (+7.6%), Ivory Coast (+13.7%), Mauritius (+5.2%) and Zimbabwe (+11.8%). The subregion’s top destination, South Africa (+2.4%), reported slower growth in arrivals though a strong increase in receipts. Island destinations Seychelles (+15.4%), Cabo Verde (+11%) and Reunion (+10.8%); all reported double-digit growth in arrivals, benefiting from increased air connectivity.

Rebounding from 2016 with a strong increase in income, results in the Middle East were fairly mixed across destinations, with strong rebound in some and sustained growth in others, partly offset by a few destinations reporting declines, including Qatar (-23.2%) and Saudi Arabia (-10.7%). International tourist arrivals to the Middle East in 2017 reached 58 million, a 5% increase on the 2016 tourist numbers. The Middle East’s international tourism receipts totalled US$68 billion, an increase of 13%. Egypt (+55.1%) led growth both in absolute and relative terms in arrivals, rebounding strongly from previous years. Visitor numbers rebounded from both traditional markets in Western Europe and emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Promotional efforts and a return of confidence contributed to this recovery. Bahrain (9.6%), Jordan (+7.7%) and Palestine (+25.7%) also rebounded robustly, while Dubai (+6.2%) and Lebanon (+10%) continued to grow at a sustained pace.