7 Leading African Countries on Tourism (2021)

Tourism is a key driver in Africa for socio-econonic development as it facilitates the creation of jobs, new businesses, export revenues as well as investment.

There are also attendant benefits including the preservation of cultural heritage and improved infrastructure.

The pandemic period saw a downturn in the revenues generated by tourism globally and the African continent was not hedged against the impact. Statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) detail a 62.7% drop in International Tourism receipts within Africa from $39 billion to $14 billion between 2019 and 2020.

The road to recovery is being paved as the world auspiciously moves on from the paralysing trepidations and uncertainties of the peak pandemic period.  With a drop in travel restrictions across the rich continent, international tourism is set to bounce back

Data from UNWTO indicates that nearly 19 million International tourists visited Africa in 2021 compared to 68.2 million, which shows there is a 72.9% year on year plummet as pre-pandemic levels are yet to be reached.

At the time of publishing this report, the list below gives the 7 African countries with the highest number of tourist arrivals. This is based on UNWTO data.

1. South Africa: 2.3 million international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

2. Tanzania: 900, 000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

3. Ethiopia: 500,000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

4. Reunion: 300, 000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

5. Eswatini: 200, 000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

6. Seychelles: 200, 000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

7. Mauritius: 200, 000 international tourists arrived this country in 2021.

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