Morocco in 2nd position

Morocco in 2nd position
Morocco in 2nd position

Although it is one of the sectors most impacted by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, African tourism is rising from its ashes, setting records and returning to growth. Statistics for the first quarter of 2024 show that three African countries have returned to their pre-crisis level.

Recovering pre-crisis levels, African countries are showing promising results in the first quarter of 2024. This was confirmed by the results of the World Tourism Barometer of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of May 2024. first quarter reveals a promising recovery which suggests a flourishing future for some African destinations.

Welcoming 5% more international arrivals than in the same period of 2019, the reference year before the pandemic, and 13% more than in the first quarter of 2023, Africa is demonstrating unprecedented resilience. This strong and resounding return, marked by an increase of 14% over one year, propels the continent on an upward trajectory, having returned to 96% of its pre-Covid levels in 2023. Several countries stand out with remarkable performances, well exceeding the continental average.

At the top of the podium, Tanzania particularly stands out with a spectacular increase of 53% compared to 2019, positioning itself as a flagship destination for this rebound. Rich in its emblematic national parks and safaris, the country has taken advantage of the lifting of Covid restrictions to once again attract nature and adventure lovers.

Morocco, in second position, shows a substantial increase of 32% in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2024 compared to before the health crisis. As a crossroads between Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the Shereef Kingdom capitalizes on its strategic positioning and the diversity of its offer, ranging from imperial cities to seaside resorts, including the desert and the mountains. A diversity that attracts globetrotters from all corners of the world.

As for Algeria, it completes the African Top 3 with an increase of 17%, demonstrating the renewed interest of travelers for this Mediterranean destination. According to UNWTO statistics, North Africa recorded the best performance in the first quarter of 2024, with 23% more international arrivals than before the pandemic, followed by Central America (+15%), the Caribbean and Western Europe (each +7%).

Revenues generated by international tourism in Africa also reflect this improvement. According to the UNWTO, they reached 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. Some destinations have even surpassed their 2019 performances, such as Morocco (+44% in revenue) and Mauritius (+46%).

This increase in tourist revenues, greater than the increase in arrivals in several cases, is explained by a higher average basket per trip and favorable exchange rates reinforcing the price competitiveness of many African destinations.

A success strewn with challenges. In Africa, the recovery of international tourism shows contrasting trends between the growth of arrivals and that of receipts. Tanzania (+53%), Morocco (+32%) and Algeria (+17%) dominate in terms of tourism recovery in the 1st quarter of 2024 compared to 2019. However, in terms of revenue, only Morocco ( +44%) remains among the African leaders, behind Mauritius (+46%).

According to professionals, this divergence is explained by factors such as the average length of stay, average spending per visitor and the composition of the clientele. Morocco, with its high-end seaside and cultural tourism, attracts a clientele with strong purchasing power, who are generally more spending. Mauritius is banking on a luxurious positioning, explaining its excellent recipes despite a lower volume of arrivals.

Additionally, differences in air connectivity and marketing strategies influence flows. Thanks to its strategic position, Morocco has been able to capture more of the European demand that has returned in force. Investments in sustainable tourism offerings, which are currently very popular, have strengthened the attractiveness and competitiveness of certain destinations.

This uneven rebound shows that African countries must continue to diversify their target markets, enrich their offers and optimize their distribution channels to maximize the economic benefits of tourism.

Despite these encouraging results, significant challenges persist to ensure a sustainable recovery of the African tourism sector. High inflation, rising transport and accommodation costs, as well as geopolitical tensions, are all obstacles to overcome. The impacts of climate change and extreme weather events also represent a major concern.

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