Above average tourism growth for Africa and Middle East

Egypt the star of the show with prospects strong for 2020; North African hotspots Tunisia and Morocco also bouncing back strongly

With international tourist arrivals up by 10% and 7% respectively, the Middle East and Africa led growth in the world last year according to UNWTO data. This trend is due to continue in 2019 as many countries have introduced measures to simplify entry formalities.

Although they represent just 4.8% and 4.5% respectively of all international tourist arrivals in the world, Africa and the Middle East were definitely among winners for world travellers in 2018. Last year, Africa attracted a total of 67.1 million international travellers, up by 7.3%, while the Middle East recorded 63.6 million international tourist arrivals – up by 10.3%.

Africa experienced a strong bounce back in arrivals to countries along the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia continues to grow at double-digit rates, a situation due to the lifting of travel bans or restrictions by most countries (particularly from Europe) towards the destination. Tunisia international arrivals grew by 23.2% in 2017 and progressed again by an estimated 17.7% last year. Tunisia consequently recorded a total of 8.3 million international travellers, finally overtaking its previous record of 2010. Morocco also performed very well, attracting over 12 million travellers for the rst time in history – a growth of over 8%.

Results for sub-Saharan countries are too incomplete to draw conclusions. However, South Africa experienced a slowdown in growth to 1.7%. UNWTO puts the blame partially on the strong Rand. However, growth was recorded for Reunion Island, Cabo Verde and Kenya. Middle East arrivals were also on an upward trend, influenced by excellent performances from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In 2017, international tourist arrivals to Egypt were up by 55% and last year this number grew again by 41.5% to over 11 million arrivals. UNWTO declared that tourism to Egypt was the top performer in the world. The country hopes that cultural tourism will jump with the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020.

Another star in the Middle East in terms of international tourist arrivals was Saudi Arabia – up by 30.3% last year. Strong growth should continue as the country now offers e-visas for tourists wishing to visit sport or cultural events. In the Gulf, Qatar experienced a modest decline, still under the influence of the travel ban for tourists from neighbouring countries while arrivals to UAE remained at, as Dubai is turning into a maturing destination.


Africa
MAIN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

ALGERIA Hall 21b / Stand 209
BOTSWANA Hall 20 / Stand 131
CÔTE D’IVOIRE Hall 21a / Stand 112
EGYPT Hall 4.2 / Stand 124, 124a
ERITREA Hall 21a /Stand 110
GAMBIA  Hall 21a / Stand 107
GHANA  Hall 21a / Stand 108
ILE DE LA RÉUNION Hall 20 /Stand 123, 130
KENYA Hall 21a / Stand 122
LESOTHO Hall 20 / Stand 106
MADAGASCAR Hall 2 / Stand 103
MALAWI Hall 20 / Stand 101
MALI Hall 21a / Stand 109
MAURITIUS Hall 2 / Stand 128
MAYOTTE  Hall 2 / Stand 128 Hall 2 / Stand 105
MOROCCO Hall 21b / Stand 213
MOZAMBIQUE Hall 20 / Stand 108
NAMIBIA Hall 20/ Stand 115, 135
RWANDA Hall 21a / Stand 120
SAINT HELENA Hall 22 / Stand 212
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE Hall 20 / Stand 127
SEYCHELLES Hall 20 / Stand 12
SIERRA LEONE Hall 21a / Stand 117
SOUTH AFRICA Hall 20 / Stand 138
SUDAN Hall 21b / Stand 205
TANZANIA Hall 21a / Stand 128
TOGO Hall 21 / Stand 111
UGANDA Hall 21 / Stand 121
ZAMBIA Hall 20 / Stand 136
ZIMBABWE Hall 2 / Stand 133


Middle East MAIN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

BAHRAIN Hall 4.2 / Stand 204
ISRAEL Hall 7.2 / Stand 100
JORDAN Hall 4.1 / Stand 202
LEBANON Hall 2.2 / Stand 203
OMAN Hall 2.2 / Stand 204
QATAR  Hall 2.2 / Stand 206
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES  Hall 2.2 / Stand 206
ABU DHABI Hall 2.2 / Stand 200
AJMAN Hall 2.2 / Stand 201
DUBAI Hall 2.2 / Stand 100
FUJAIRAHV Hall 2.2 / Stand
RAS AL-KHAIMAH 104 Hall 2.2 / Stand
SHARJAH 103 Hall 2.2 / Stand 102