Three Eastern African nations have emerged among the top ten fastest-growing destinations for tourism in the world.
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The 2019 annual report compiled by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that Ethiopia is the fastest-growing travel destination in the world with Rwanda in sixth place and Uganda holding a twelfth position on the list.
Ethiopia’s tourism sector grew by a staggering 48.6 percent in 2018, making up 9.4 percent of the economy and creating 2.2 million jobs. Over 8 percent of Ethiopia’s total workforce now works in tourism.
Rwanda also saw growth rates of 13.8 percent and Uganda 11.3 percent, with all 3 showing the pull of East Africa both in terms of its wildlife, history, and beaches, the Nation Media Group reported from Nairobi.
Kenya also saw a big growth in 2018 at 5.6 percent which had created 1.46 million jobs and made up 8.8 percent of the total annual economy.
Kenya stands as the leading tourist hub in Eastern Africa, taking an advantage of its rich wildlife, historical sites, and beaches on the Indian Ocean coast and improved tourist services, mostly hotels and air transport facilities.
In its annual analysis quantifying the global economic and employment impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries and 25 regions, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s research reveals that the sector accounted for 10.4 percent of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or 10 percent of total employment in 2018.
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It adds that travel and tourism’s growth in 2019 is expected “to remain resilient” despite a slowing global economy.
“Our forecasts point to a 3.6 percent expansion for travel and tourism, faster than an expected global economy growth of 2.9 percent in 2019,” the report says.
It adds that one in 5 of all new jobs were created by travel and tourism over the past 5 years showing the growing importance of the sector to the global economy.
Travel and tourism GDP grew by 5.6 percent in 2018, significantly above the African economic growth rate of 3.2 percent.
This places Africa as the second fastest-growing region in 2018, behind only Asia-Pacific.
Such growth is partly explained by North Africa’s rebound from security crises as well as the development and implementation of policies that stimulate travel promotion.