KAMPALA – Uganda has been ranked among the top 20 countries in Africa with less travel restrictions for tourists.
According to the 2019 Hospitality Report Africa published by Jumia, Uganda, which is in 7th position, does not send away tourists who fail to fulfill visa requirements.
In first position is Mauritius followed by Benin, Rwanda, Guinnea-Bissau, Togo, Cape Verde, Uganda, Mozambique, Sychelles and Mauritania, among others.
The report also indicates that Africa is the second-fastest-growing tourism region in the world after Asia Pacific.
According to the report, the continent received 67 million international tourist arrivals (+7% increase) in 2018, as compared to 63 million in 2017 and 58 million in 2016.
This contributed 8.5% (or $194.2b) of the GDP in 2018, up from 8.1% and 7.8% in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
The report indicates that Morocco and South Africa were the top tourism destinations, with approximately 11 and 10 million arrivals per annum respectively. The report adds that travel and tourism sector, directly and indirectly, provided employment for about 24.3 million people in 2018, accounting for approximately (6.7%) of total employment.
Leisure remains an important component of Africa’s tourism industry, taking up a majority 71% of the tourist expenditure in 2018.
The report indicates that more African governments among them Kenya Rwanda, and South Africa are seen to be driving initiatives towards diversifying business tourism products through MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). However, business expenditure remained at a staggering 29% in 2018 from 30% in 2017.
Estelle Verdier, the Head of Travel, Jumia Group, says the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area will increase intra-regional business, and thus yield huge economic benefits to the continent.
“In regards to the travel and tourism industry, a free trade area means more people will have the opportunity to travel across borders. There will be more business travel especially for MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions and events) as businesses seek to attract regional partnerships and investments. Moreover, the free movement of persons will boost business travel, even as we see a rise in bleissure, the combination of business and leisure travel. Medical tourism will grow, as patients receive visa-free facilitation to seek medical treatment in other African countries with advanced medical facilities,” she says.