Cape Town – Africa is poised for major growth, this has been the prediction for a number of years now – but in 2016 its seems a lot of bricks and mortar are going into making it a reality.
Growth in planned hotel rooms in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 42.1% in 2015. Angola leads the pack with 56 new hotel developments planned. Read the full overview of new hotels and future expansion planned for Africa here.
A key driver in the tourism industry is air connectivity, it is interesting to note that figures show a 5.9% increase in forward bookings from May to October compared with 2015, with robust growth in arrivals from across the globe as well as from within the continent.
The ForwardKeys data shows bookings from Europe for this period, which at 57% has the biggest market share – are up 6.0%. Significantly, travel within Africa is also increasing and at a slightly faster rate, as up 6.2%. The Americas, with a market share of 15%, are up 12.3%.
Namibia, Kenya and SA leading
The data also indicates that bookings made for the beginning of May onwards show that nearly all the top African destinations are seeing an increase in international arrivals. Namibia tops the list, up 31.2% on the previous year, with Kenya in second place, up 27.7%%, followed by South Africa, up 21.6%.
Only three of the top 15 destinations in Africa are showing fewer advance bookings – Egypt down 7.9%, Morocco down 6.6% and Tunisia down 25.8%.
The ForwardKeys data has been produced in partnership with AviaDev Africa, a route planning and development conference being launched by Bench Events in Kigali, Rwanda. The AviaDev Africa event in October is being run in parallel with the high-profile Africa Hotel Investment Forum and will, for the first time, bring together airlines, airports, government representatives and tourism authorities to discuss the future connectivity of the continent.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairperson for Bench Events,says, “The ForwardKeys data provides a valuable opportunity to look ahead and see how air travel to and within Africa is growing.
e-Visas and improved infrastructures
“Many of us in the industry see the most promising opportunities for growth emerging from air travel within the continent and a number of factors are helping to drive this increase including simpler visa processes and increasing use of e-visas, as well as improved infrastructure and lower air fares.”
South Africa has recently seen record recovery in January and February 2016, compared to poor performance in 2015 following changes to its visa and immigration policy. Recently at Indaba 2016, the South African Tourism’s travel and trade show which showcased exhibits from 18 countries on the continent, the issue of e-Visas was hotly debated and seen more and more as the developing trend, as is changing the perceptions of authentic experiences available in Africa, with Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom saying, “As tourism succeeds, the continent succeeds, and millions of people benefit from this success.”
The total number of seats for flights from Europe to Africa, between May and October, has dropped 7.3%. The fall is due to Europe suspending regular and charter flights to Tunisia and Egypt. UK capacity to Tunisia dropped 91% and Russian capacity to Egypt was down 97%, reflecting recent terror-related incidents.
OR Tambo leads list of scheduled international air capacity
Johannesburg still heads the list for scheduled international air capacity to airports in Africa but Addis Ababa is a close second. ForwardKeys data shows planned total seats to Addis enjoying an increase of 22% for the 2016 summer season.
AviaDev Africa will open at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre in Kigali on 4 October, joining the main AHIF conference on 5 and 6 October. AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting over 500 high-calibre executives from 45 countries, as well as key government representatives.
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