North Africa tourism showing signs of recovery
Travel & Tourism in countries previously hit by terrorism and political unrest started to show signs of strong recovery in 2017, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact Report.
Overall Travel & Tourism growth in North Africa was 22.6% in 2017, more than three times faster than any other region in the world and five times faster than the world average of 4.6%.
Driving this growth was an excellent recovery in Egypt, where tourism’s contribution to GDP grew by 72.9% compared to 2016; and a strong but more muted recovery in Tunisia of 7.6%. In Turkey, tourism’s contribution grew by 17%.
GDP growth from Travel & Tourism massively outpaced growth in the whole economy in countries previously hit by terrorism. In Egypt the economy grew by 4.1%, in Tunisia by 2% and Turkey by 7.0%). This highlights the sector’s importance in driving economic growth in these countries.
Overall in 2017, Travel & Tourism generated US$21.1 billion of GDP in Egypt (11.0% of total GDP), US$5.7 billion of GDP in Tunisia (14.2% of total) and US$ 98.4 billion in Turkey (11.6% of total); and Travel & Tourism accounted for 8.5%, 13.0% and 7.4% of employment in each country respectively.
Key markets return
With this strong recovery in 2017 and promising forecasts for 2018, particularly as major source markets such as the UK return to the region, with the resuming of charter flights, these countries are well on track to return to pre-crisis levels.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC’s president and CEO, said: “In a year which has generally seen strong growth in the Travel & Tourism sector, this positive performance in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey is very encouraging.
“Our research shows that public and private sector co-operation is key to a destination’s ability to recover from shocks such as terrorist attacks or political unrest, and I encourage the governments of these countries to continue with their engagement with the private sector in pursuit of future sustainable growth.
“The experience of Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey as well as other countries which have suffered terrorist attacks in recent years, such as France and Belgium which also performed well in 2017, highlights how important it is that as an industry we find the balance between safe, secure and seamless travel. Security is paramount, and it will be vital in coming years that we optimise the use of technology, such as biometrics, to ensure secure and efficient travel, which will ultimately create and protect jobs.”
WTTC’s Economic Impact Research is the only global dataset on the economic impact of Travel & Tourism, covering 185 countries and 25 regional groupings. It can be accessed at www.wttc.org/research/economic-research/economic-impact-analysis/