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Accurate tourism statistics key to Africa’s tourism growth


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If we want tourism to effectively contribute to national economies in Africa, it is crucial that the sector’s overall economic impact is measured accurately through reliable tourism statistics.

That was the overall message at the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.

The ministerial dialogue during the conference addressed the significance of collecting and compiling quantitative and qualitative data, as well as the importance of commitments from national stakeholders and institutional partnerships for a rigorous tourism statistics system.

“The priorities of my mandate include the crucial targets of creating more and better tourism jobs, improving tourism education and fostering innovation”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.

Tourism provides 1 out of 14 jobs in Africa

Pololikashvili explained that currently, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development estimates that tourism provides around 8.5% of Africa’s GDP, 46% of its exports and 1 out of 14 of its jobs.

He said that although African heads of state and key business figures are recognising tourism for what it is, in many cases, we are still missing the statistics that tell us exactly how tourism has helped destinations and communities.

Said Pololikashvili: “Tourism in Africa has huge untapped potential. The only way this can be developed is if we can manage the sector better – in other words, making policy decisions based on strong evidence. For this, our statistics need to be harmonised, of high quality, and covering all dimensions of sustainable development.”

Dorine Reinstein
Dorine Reinstein
Dorine Reinstein is a seasoned travel writer and editor, who is passionate about retail travel as well as inbound tourism. She has written for award-winning publications. Dorine has completed her Honours Degree in English and Dutch Literature in Belgium as well as her Honours Degree in Drama in France. When moving to South Africa, she obtained her Advanced Journalism Diploma in Johannesburg. She has a knack for languages and can write effortlessly in English, Dutch and French.

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