Growing Africa’s tourism through air transport liberalisation

Continental aspirations and key policy bottlenecks

Authored by: Rayviscic Mutinda Ndivo

Routledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138496088
eBook ISBN: 9781351022545
Adobe ISBN:


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Africa as a region has witnessed sustained tourism growth in recent years that has seen the industry gradually becoming an important sector for the region’s economic development. Nonetheless, the region’s share of international tourist arrivals remains a paltry average of 5%. While a number of factors have been identified as being responsible for this relatively poor performance, the generally poor performance of Africa’s aviation industry is a key limiting factor. The performance of the region’s aviation industry though improving continues to lag behind that of the rest of the world accounting for about 3% of the global air transportation traffic. Evidence has demonstrated a close link between the tourism industry and the aviation sector. Indeed, air transportation is pivotal for any international tourism development owing to the need for tourists to move to the product destination. Subsequently, air travel continues to be the dominant mode of travel in international tourism accounting for over half of all international arrivals. In this regard, it can be hypothesised that growing air transportation into and within the region including effective connectivity within the vast continent, is key to unlocking Africa’s tourism potential. This chapter explores the efforts undertaken to open up Africa’s airspace and the challenges that have stood in the way of such efforts. Focus is given to exploring policy-based bottlenecks to this noble continental aspiration.

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