Travel and Tourism Growth in Northern African
Travel and Tourism Growth in Northern Africa
Sharing the same Mediterranean coast, ethnic cultural and linguistic identity, the North African region – comprising of Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Sudan, – have been experiencing novel growth dynamics in the field of travel and tourism.
Half of the North African region, namely Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, have been greatly affected by political instability and their repercussions. Along with this, the oil price crisis in the Middle East led to a slow down in a number of projects intended to spur tourism in the countries. However, despite these complications, North Africa is forecasted to be a major touristic destination in comparison to other regions in the Middle East and Africa.
The above-mentioned countries are seeking new real-estate investments and infrastructure developments in the hospitality and tourism sector reaching an average of USD 2.3bn in 2016 compared to the world average USD 4.4bn. In Egypt, travel and tourism investments have reached USD 4.6bn accounting for 11.9% of total investment. It is forecasted to grow on average of 6.4% reaching USD 9.3bn in the next ten years. Morocco has reported a value of USD 4.1bn for its travel and tourism investments followed by Tunisia USD 0.8bn and Sudan USD 0.4bn, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council 2017 Report. In addition to this, the North African region saw an increase of 5.4% in hotel occupancy.
Morocco promises the most prospective future in the North African region with the increased tourist demand which is positively correlated to growth in the real estate and hospitality sectors. It is the top performing country in the North African region and third in Africa. Based on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index in 2017, Morocco is ranking 65, followed by Egypt at 74, Tunisia at 87, and Algeria at 118 out of 136. They aim to be one of the top 20 world tourist destinations by 2020. In 2016, Morocco had contributed to 8.1% of travel and tourism’s direct to GDP followed by Tunisia 6.6%, Egypt 3.2%, and Sudan 2.5%. Cumulatively, the North Africa region is contributing about 4.4% of Travel & Tourism’s Direct to GDP. However, Libya doesn’t depend on Tourism & Travel as a revenue generation tool for the country. As employment is considered to be another indicator that assesses the level of growth in tourism, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have seen a growth in the job market in the fields of Travel and Tourism. For the year 2016, Morocco was the leader in terms of job creation reporting 819K, followed by Egypt 773K, Tunisia 206.4 K, and Sudan 192.8K.
Recently, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2017 report stated that Egypt is the world’s second-fastest growing touristic destination. Around 8 million international tourists have entered Egypt in between January – July 2017 accounting for a 24.8% growth in the number of international arrivals. Egypt further aims to attract 12.49 million international tourists by 2027, considering the fact that it reached 14.7m in 2010. Nonetheless, Tunisia is also having a comeback with an increase of 33.5% for the first half of the year. Both countries have managed to get out of the Terror threat list made by the foreign office after their recent turbulence. When taking a look at the number of arrivals driven by international tourism, Libya is the least touristic destination within the region along with Sudan and Algeria. Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia have been evolving over the years but the numbers are within the range of 5.3M-10.M.
Samia El Khodary, Analyst at Infomineo