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African Market for Online Travel is Still Emerging—Report

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A new report by Jumia has said the African market for online travel was still nascent with undoubted prospects.

The piece titled Jumia Africa Hospitality Report, in its second edition, looks at the 2017/2018 trends in the continent’s tourism, travel, hospitality and aviation industries.

It focused on the impressive growth that Africa’s travel and tourism industry has recorded through in 2017 and 2018 with an increase in international arrivals.

The Jumia Hospitality Report further underlines the industries’ contribution to the economy, underlying challenges and the potential for future growth, as African tourism becomes of age.

According to the CEO of Jumia Travel & Food, Mr Joe Falter, “The African market for online travel is still nascent with undoubted prospects. We are proud to once again produce a comprehensive report that highlights the diverse aspects of both the hospitality and aviation industries in Africa. This has been made a success by the input of our partners.”

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The report said although the continent receives only 5 percent of all the international arrivals, Africa’s travel and tourism industry continues to record impressive growth over the years.

In 2017, the continent hit a 63 million high in international tourist arrivals as compared to 58 million in 2016 (against 9 percent in 2016). As a result of affordability and ease of travel, domestic travel is growing in Africa, recording a high of 60 percent in local spending as compared to 40 percent in international spending.

The UNWTO’s Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili explains the change in domestic travel landscape in Africa, noting that “people’s movement is no longer a luxury set aside for the few with high per capita income but a basic need for the ever-increasing majority of the middle class who create and shape the future generation entrepreneurs. A growing middle class is a sign of a robust economy. The existence of domestic tourists who have more money to spend at their disposal and thus willing to travel more has led to the mushrooming of low-cost airlines, upward growth of bed capacity in main cities, flourishing of the so-called shared economy etc”.

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The AU e-Passport and the creation of visa upon arrival, e-visa and visa-free travel for African citizens in line with the concept of unrestricted movement of persons, goods and services across the countries remains a strong driving factor to the growth of domestic travel. Africans now do not require a visa to travel to 25 percent of other African countries can get visas on arrival in 24 percent of other African countries, while still a dominant 51 percent of African countries need Africans to have visas to travel.

The report also breaks down the percentages of the various sources of traffic on Jumia. The high record in the mobile as a source of traffic is perhaps as a result of the increasing adoption of smartphones in Africa, which stands at 34 percent in 2018 and 61 percent of the travellers are using a smartphone to book their hotel or flight on Jumia Travel. The African traveller still opts to Pay-at-Hotel as the mode of payment (65 percent) in 2018, even as the trust for Credit & Debit Card increases to 21 percent from 15 percent in 2017.

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Africa’s Aviation Industry

Africa’s air passenger traffic share is only 2.2 percent of the world total with 88.5 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 6.6 percent from 2016. It is expected to grow by 4.9 percent annually over the next 20 years, creating enormous opportunities for the continent’s airlines to grow.

Addressing how to competitively position Africa’s airlines in the global aviation market, IATA’s Special Envoy to Africa on Aeropolitical Affairs Raphael Kuuchi stipulates that “the sustainable growth of African airlines traffic lies in removing the bottlenecks to effective connectivity, lowering industry operating cost and developing commercial cooperation among airlines. With the assurance of safety, security, competitive operating environment, ease of market access and visa facilitation, Africa’s share of passenger traffic will exceed 320 million by 2037,” he concludes.

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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