A new report released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in collaboration with VFS Global has revealed that the African travel and tourism sector could add $ 168 billion to the continent’s economy and create over 18 million new jobs.
The report, ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Travel & Tourism Growth in Africa’, released November 6, 2026 states that this potential growth depends on three key policies to unlock annualized growth of 6.5%.
The report highlights the opportunities for the sector, which include strategic investment, improved connectivity, streamlined visa processes; reducing carbon footprint through low-carbon energy adoption, and enhancing water efficiency.
These could unlock the potential for sustainable growth, job creation, and economic development in the African Travel & Tourism sector.
The report includes a policy package focused on improving Africa’s growth based on air infrastructure, visa facilitation, and tourism marketing.
Travel and tourism is a powerhouse sector in Africa and welcomes 84 million international travelers annually and provides livelihoods to 25 million people, equating to 5.6% of all the jobs in the region.
Speaking at the global tourism body’s Global Summit in Kigali recently, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said that Africa’s Travel and Tourism sector has witnessed an extraordinary transformation and in just two decades, it has more than doubled in value, significantly contributing to the continent’s economy.
“Growth potential for Travel and Tourism in Africa is massive. It has already more than doubled since 2000, and with the right policies could unlock an additional US$168 billion in the next decade.
“Africa needs simplified visa processes, better air connectivity within the continent, and marketing campaigns to highlight the wealth of destinations in this breathtaking continent,” Simpson said.
Zubin Karkaria, Founder & CEO, VFS Global that they are excited to partner with WTTC to uncover the extensive opportunities that Travel & Tourism offers in Africa following their presence in Africa since 2005 which has trusted partners of 38 governments who we serve across 55 cities in 35 countries in Africa.
Karkaria said VFS Global recognizes the tremendous potential of Africa and remains deeply committed to supporting the continuing development of travel and tourism to and from the continent.
“This report not only highlights the diverse prospects for economic growth, sustainable tourism, and cross-cultural collaboration but also provides valuable insights for governments to formulate policies and offers businesses a well-defined roadmap for expansion in this thriving market.”
This report delves into the historical journey of the Travel & Tourism sector in Africa- a story of facing challenges head-on, from the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 to the setbacks caused by disease outbreaks, and political instability.
Despite all of these challenges, the Travel & Tourism sector is on a path to recovery.
According to the global body, 2023 is projected to be a year of near-full recovery, only 1.9% shy of 2019 levels, as well as the creation of an additional near 1.8 million jobs.