This week our team of analysts dug into the ForwardKeys data to examine what useful nuggets of insights can be found for our colleagues in Africa, in the travel and tourism sector.

The Big Picture

Despite the travel data showing that arrival numbers are in decline across all of Africa with Botswana the most impacted at -76.6% and Tanzania doing the best at -58.7%, the global perspective needs to come into focus for a deeper understanding of the big picture.

Currently, Asia and Europe are taking the brunt of Covid-19 crisis the most. Yes, arrivals to Africa & the Middle East is at -67% YoY, but Europe is at -77%.

The Sub-Saharan nations are seeing more cancellations than new bookings, down to -86.5% in bookings. However, new weekly tickets from the USA, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK – the top source markets for the region, show signs of subtle recovery beginning in June.

“In North Africa, Tunisia is the destination doing better in issued tickets, capturing travellers from EU and other long-haul markets,” says Luis Millan, Market Researcher at ForwardKeys.


The Long-haul travel markets

The ForwardKeys data is pointing to two source market as game-changers for tourism in Africa – Germany and France. The figures show that it’s the Germans and French who are most willing to travel long-haul. In fact, for Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe the top long-haul origin markets for Q4 is Germany, France, and Switzerland in terms of volume of tickets issued and YoY arrivals.

The good news is that the peak for long haul booking for Q4 is in October, time to crack that whip and get into action mode hoteliers, tour operators, airlines, and tourism organisations!

We gazed into our crystal ball, the ForwardKeys Flight Search tool, to further inspect which destinations these top source markets were searching flights for and discovered that consumer interest is highest for Tanzania, Mauritius, and South Africa.

Top-Searched-Destination-countries-in-Sub-Saharan-Africa-per-Source-Market-3“African countries are gradually starting to ease lockdown measures and we have seen some countries reopening borders, for example, Kenya and Rwanda. This has also been validated with the increase of interest to travel from Europe to Africa in Quarter 1, 2021 based on Flight Search data,” confirms Millan.

With interest returning to Africa and the Sub-Saharan region from eager international travellers from Europe and new borders re-opening, monitoring the impact this tourism will have on neighbouring countries and their travel restrictions will be pertinent.


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