African countries

Revenue ‘leakage’ in tourism profoundly affects economies of African countries: Expert – SABC News

For every US$100 spent on vacation travel by a tourist from a developed country, only about US$5 actually stays in the economy of a developing country, resulting in a loss of income of 95%. This was announced by the Director of the Regional Department for Africa of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Elicia Grandcourt.

Speaking on Day 3 of the 5e Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) at the Grand Palm Hotel International Convention Center in Gaborone, Grandcourt says that for Africa to realize the real value of tourism on the continent, it must address these revenue “leakages”.

“In most all-inclusive travel packages, around 80% of traveler spending goes to airlines, hotels and other international companies, which are often headquartered in the travelers’ home country, not to corporations or local workers,” says Grandcourt. .

“Average import leakage for most developing countries today is between 40% and 50% of gross tourism receipts for small economies and between 10% and 20% for most advanced and diversified economies,” adds she.

She says this has serious implications for African economies, which she says prevents the tourism sector from fully unleashing its potential to drive inclusive socio-economic development and the advancement of Africa and contribute effectively to eradicate poverty in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Achievement. Goals.

“Leakage in tourism profoundly affects the economies of African countries across the continent with severe and negative impacts on the livelihoods of local communities by promoting inequalities and producing cultural erosion,” says Grandcourt.

Over 600 delegates, including government officials as well as private sector players, attended the event to discuss ways to improve intra-African tourism. This comes as the industry suffered massive setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in travel restrictions.

African tourism, which relied heavily on foreign travellers, lost billions of rands in revenue and cut thousands of jobs, necessitating intra-African travel for the sustainability of the sector.

Opinion leaders in the sector have been engaged for the past three days on the policies to be put in place and the collaborations to be put in place for the diversification of the sector.

Grandcourt says Africans need to start traveling to other African countries and supporting local businesses.

Earlier, the Chief Executive of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, highlighted the importance of SMEs, warning that small businesses should be seen as the industry rather than entities on the periphery of the industry.

He encouraged Africans to embrace the uniqueness of their culture and use it to their advantage instead of confining it to cultural villages.

Acknowledging that small businesses face serious funding challenges, Tshivhengwa says every effort must be made to turn SMEs into success stories.