Tourism contributes $72.8bn to African economy: Mashat

The tourism sector’s direct contribution to the African economy in 2017 reached $72.8 billion and is expected to reach $90.6 billion by the end of 2018, according to Egyptian Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat.

Mashat’s remarks came during the “Think Tourism…Destination Africa” seminar held on Monday during the Africa 2018 Forum, which is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in cooperation with the COMESA Regional Investment Agency in its third edition under the patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The tourism sector’s direct contribution to job creation reached 9.3 million jobs in 2017 and is expected to reach 9.6 million jobs by the end of 2018, Mashat said.

The sector’s contribution to total employment was 313 million in 2017 and is expected to reach 323 million by the end of 2018, she added.

“According to World Development Indicators 2018 of the World Bank, the proportion of incoming tourism to the African continent increased by 100 percent between 2000 and 2016, while tourism spending increased by 150 percent in the same period,” Mashat said.

The minister stressed the importance of cooperation between African countries to attract more tourism investments and increase the number of incoming and outgoing tourism.

She pointed to the importance of African tourism to Egypt, saying that it has seen a “significant increase in recent years, as the number of tourist nights increased by 290 percent between 2016 and 2018.”

The minister reviewed the main axes of the structural reform program to develop the tourism sector in Egypt, namely institutional reform, legislative reform, infrastructure development and investment, modernization of tourism promotion mechanisms, and keeping pace with modern tourism trends.

Egypt had been experiencing a severe decline in tourism numbers following the revolutions in 2011 and 2013 and then the downing of a Russian plane over Sinai in 2015. However, numbers have been rising again following President Sisi’s successes in reestablishing security and stability and attracting foreign investments and tourists.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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