Nigeria Not Among Top African Countries Most Visited By International Tourists

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By: Nwanma Ogidi

City of Lagos

 The courtesy of statistics made available by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on Tourism is quite the revenue driver for many African countries. At the height of the global health scare in 2020 and even through to 2021, virtually all African countries were forced to shut down their land and sea borders as part of global restrictions on travel aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.

Waka About Africa gathered that the sector has taken a major hit over the past two years, no thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that occurred in 2020.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that a total of 15,225,627 travelers passed through Nigeria’s airports in 2021, sparking a combined growth of 101.02% in domestic and international travel.

The data which was released was provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and verified and validated by the NBS, showing that the total number of international passengers who passed through Nigerian airports was 2,219,146, as against 1,408,026 passengers in 2020. You may recall that Waka About Africa reported the unfortunate pandemic, this measure had inevitably shut down global tourism. and billions of dollars were lost in the process.

To show just how severe the pandemic’s impact on Africa’s tourism sector was, we obtained statistics from the UN World Tourism Organisation which show that international tourism receipts (i.e., expenditures by international visitors in Africa) dropped significantly by 62.7% from $39 billion in 2019 to $14 billion in 2020.

The NBS report represents a 57.61% growth rate. While in 2021, the total number of domestic passengers who passed through Nigerian airports was 13,006,481 as against 9,069,295 in 2020, which represents a 43.41% growth rate.

But there is some good news. According to the UNWTO’s tourism recovery tracker, international tourist arrivals in Africa stood at 69% as of January 2022. Travel restrictions across the continent have also dropped to 9.43% from a high of 84.91% in June 2020.

This is not to say that everything is back to normal. As a matter of fact, the number of international tourist arrivals in Africa is still very abysmal compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of arrivals in 2021 stood at 6,533,740, which was higher compared to 4,870,072 in 2020. Similarly, the total number of international passengers who passed through Nigerian airports was 2,219,146 in 2021 as against 1,408,026 passengers in 2020. This represents a 57.61% growth rate. The number of arrivals in 2021 stood at 1,109,621, which was higher compared to 690,765 in 2020.

The data showed that Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Owerri recorded the highest rate of traffic, while Katsina, Kaduna, Ibadan and Jos recorded the lowest traffic.

For foreign travel, Lagos recorded the highest traffic, with 1,595,522 passengers, while Abuja came second with 565,062 passengers. Port Harcourt had 14,519 passengers, while Kano had 39,441, Enugu had 4,532 and Maiduguri had 68.

International tourist arrivals in selected African countries between 2019 and 2021 (Source: UNWTO) Based on available data from the UNWTO, a total of 18.5 million international tourists visited Africa in 2021 compared to 68.2 million in 2019. This is indicative of a 72.9% decline year on year. Based on the 2021 stats, below are the seven African countries with the highest international tourist arrivals. Now, it is important to bear in mind that the UNWTO emphasized that its ranking is subject to change, as time-lapses and more updates become available.

To 7  International tourists visit  in 2021

South Africa: A total of 2.3 million

Tanzania: A total of 900, 000

Ethiopia: A total of 500,000

Reunion: A total of 300, 000

Eswatini: A total of 200, 000.

Seychelles: A total of 200, 000

Mauritius: A total of 200, 000

 

 

 


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