A study by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that Tourism in Africa declined by 57% in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period last year. The global COVID-19 pandemic occasioned this.
International tourist arrivals declined 65% in the first half of 2020 (H1) compared to the same period in 2019, with arrivals in June down 93%.
As a result, the decline in international travel demand occasioned a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about $460 billion in international tourism revenues. This translates to over five times the loss in receipts recorded in 2009 during the global economic and financial crisis.
Three UNWTO scenarios published in May 2020 point to declines of 58% to 78% in international tourist arrivals in 2020, with current trends pointing to a decrease in international arrivals closer to 70% for 2020.
Preliminary estimates for July (-85%) and August (-80%) also indicate that the decline in international demand in January-August 2020 would reach 70%, translating into a loss of 705 million international arrivals and some $730 billion in export revenues, which is eight times the income loss of 2009.
By regions, Asia and the Pacific were the hardest hit with a 72% decrease in arrivals in H1 2020. Europe was the second-hardest hit with a 66% decline, followed by the Americas (-55%), Africa, and the Middle East (both -57%)
In Africa, international tourist arrivals dipped 57% in H1 2020, with a 99% estimated drop in H2 2020. North Africa recorded a 62% decline, suffering the biggest impact in the first half. At the same time, arrivals in Subsaharan Africa declined by an estimated 54%.
In a nutshell, Africa lost approximately 18 million international arrivals y-o-y through June.
Additionally, the Middle East recorded a 57% decrease in January-June 2020, losing 19 million international tourist arrivals as compared to the same period in 2019.
As of 1st September 2020, 26 destinations in Africa and five destinations in the Middle East had eased restrictions. However, borders in 27 destinations in Africa and eight destinations in the Middle East remain closed.
IATA (The International Air Transport Association) reports that international traffic in Africa dropped 95% in July, an improvement from a 98% contraction in June. Capacity declined 85%, with load factor falling to 25%, which was the lowest among regions.
The Africa hotel industry suffered a decline of 76% in RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) in March 2020. Occupancy saw a 52% drop to 31%, with ADR (Average Daily Rate) falling by 6%. Both the Middle East and Africa recorded their lowest absolute occupancy and RevPAR levels for any July on record.