Jumia Travel, a leading tourism sector agency with operations across various parts of Africa, has shed light on the industry, which has seen seasons of uninterrupted growth in recent years.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals grew by 7% in 2017, the highest increase since 2010.
“The international tourism sector has seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years, with 2017’s growth being the highest since 2010, with a record performance of $1.6 trillion,” the organization said in a statement. This represents an increase of 7%.
“Additionally, tourism generated another US$ 240 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents. Europe and Africa led the growth, with increases in arrivals of 8% and 9%, respectively,” said Jumia Travel’s communications head, Josephine Wawira.
The UN body, in its latest collection of tourism highlights, further notes that the strong results were driven by sustained travel demand for destinations across all world regions, including a firm recovery by those that have suffered from security challenges in recent years.
These include, among others, Kenya, whose tourism sector took a major hit a few years ago. However, the industry has shown marked improvement with stakeholders reporting an increasing number of travellers visiting the country in recent years.
In 2017, China remained the leader in global outbound travel, with an expenditure of $258 billion on international tourism. This translates to approximately one-fifth of the world’s total tourism spending in 2017, which stood at 1.3 trillion, some $94 billion more than in 2016.
For Kenya, the last quarter of 2017 saw marked improvement in the hotel and tourism industry with operators recording occupancy rates as high as 80% ahead of Christmas festivities. This was according to Mr. Hasnain Noorani, Group Managing Director of PrideInn Hotels, one of the leading hospitality giants operating in the region.
Last year, during the same quarter, Jumia travel was quick to capitalize on increasing traveller numbers. At the time, the group announced that it was opening physical agencies in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
Jumia Travel said the offline presence is expected to lead the largely web-based company in gaining a greater share of the local market still dependant on conventional mortar and brick business.
The move came at a time when domestic travel was noted to have maintained a positive trajectory.
More recently, Wawira said 2018 will likely continue with the robust growth, with available data showing that international tourism recorded a year-on-year increase of 6% in arrivals between January and April.