With the African Travel Market taking place this week, the analysts at ForwardKeys look at the latest travel data to reveal a slow but steady intra-regional revival and change of dynamics in regional hubs.

Regional demand returns in 2021

After the peak of issued tickets for Christmas travel dropping, since late January the latest Air Ticketing Data shows a steady incline.

“What is encouraging to see is the percentage of recovery taking place in tourism some major regional markets such as Ethiopia and Nigeria,” says Luis Millan, Market Research Manager at ForwardKeys.

New Airport Hubs for Africa – Ethiopia

Covid-19 has shaken up air travel connectivity, flight schedules and managed to push Dubai’s DBX airport down the list of importance when it comes to vital airport hubs for long-haul flights to Africa.

In fact, the top airport hubs for long-haul arrivals in Africa in Q1, 2021 is Addis Ababa in Ethiopia with 45% transit volumes compared to 2019 and in second place, Doha in Qatar.

”Ethiopian Airlines is not only the leading regional carrier but also one of the most resilient in the region. In Q1 it operated at 75% of pre-COVID19 international capacity volumes and it played a key role connecting the region while other long-haul services are interrupted or operating at minimum levels.”

As mentioned in a previous blog, since the diplomatic blockade on Qatar has been lifted, seat capacity has increased, connecting regional neighbours more frequently than other rival locations.

“New Normal” brings new traveller profiles to Africa

The team at ForwardKeys can see that what we are seeing taking place elsewhere, is also applicable for Africa. Namely, three notable changes have been brought on by Covid-19:

  1. Travelling in groups has greatly diminished while travelling solo is on the rise.
  2. Those who travel chose to stay overseas longer. In the case of Africa, almost twice as long. The average length of stay now is 31 nights versus 17 nights in 2019.
  3. The lead booking time window is shrinking. More reactive, last-minute booking is taking place as travel restrictions and government announcements impact one’s ability to travel.

This means that hoteliers, tour operators and even tourism boards need to rethink how they are promoting their destination, property or activity. Is your destination ready for solo travellers looking to stay over 1 month in your country? Do you offer a wealth of activities and experiences or even properties that are suitable for such travellers?

Never has travel data and information sharing been as important as now. Stay ahead of what is coming and speak to a team member to learn more about the ForwardKeys range of data solutions. From destination marketing, hospitality and travel retail, we can help you.