Africa's travel and tourism sector could add $168 billion to the continent’s economy and create over 18 million new jobs over the next ten years, the World Travel & Tourism Council said. 

The potential growth is dependent on three key policies that could spur annualised growth of 6.5%, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said in a report released at its Global Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.    

The report says a three-pronged policy package focused on air infrastructure, visa facilitation and tourism marketing were the key to boosting earnings from the sector.    

Travel and tourism is a flagship sector in Africa, that is also essential for employment, providing livelihoods to 25 million people, equating to 5.6% of all the jobs in the region.

The sector has more than doubled in value in just two decades, Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO said at the summit.  

“With the right policies (the sector) could unlock an additional $168 billion in the next decade," she said.

“Africa needs simplified visa processes, better air connectivity within the continent, and marketing campaigns to highlight the wealth of destinations in this breathtaking continent.”     

The findings were contained in a report titled 'Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa' published by the WTTC in collaboration with visa-services firm VFS Global, which works with 35 countries across Africa. 

The report notes that the tourism sector is on a recovery path from setbacks caused by disease outbreaks and political instability, with 2023 projected to be a year of near-full recovery, just shy of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. 

(Editing by Seban Scaria