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International travellers flock back to Africa

from AKANI CHAUKE in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG – AFRICA has recorded a more than 150 percent increase in international arrivals in the first five months of 2022 as compared to the same period last year.

The increase comes as international tourism continues to show signs of a strong and steady recovery from the impact of the pandemic, despite significant mounting economic and geopolitical challenges.

According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, international tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded.

This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021.

The figures indicate that the sector has recovered almost half (46 percent) of pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Africa, with growth of 156 percent during the period under review remained 50 percent below 2019 levels.

Europe welcomed more than four times as many international arrivals as in the first five months of 2021 (+350 percent), boosted by strong intra-regional demand and the removal of all travel restrictions in a growing number of countries.

In the Americas, arrivals more than doubled (+112 percent).

The Middle East grew 157 percent while Asia and the Pacific almost doubled arrivals (+94 percent).

“The recovery of tourism has gathered pace in many parts of the world, weathering the challenges standing in its way”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili.

He nonetheless advised caution in view of the “economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges which could impact the sector in the remainder of 2022 and beyond,” Pololikashvili said.

– CAJ News

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