Women ‘Well Represented’ In Tourism Jobs In Sub-Saharan Africa

Women ‘Well Represented’ In Tourism Jobs In Sub-Saharan Africa

Tourism is one of the few industries in Africa in which women are well represented as employees and managers, according to a new World Bank report.

With one in every 20 jobs in sub-Saharan Africa directly or indirectly linked to tourism, Sub Saharan Africa is outpacing other regions in tourism growth, CitiFMonline reports.

World Bank examined the potential of African countries to improve and expand tourism, and suggests that 33 of 48 sub-Saharan Africa countries have the capacity for tourism success through establishing strong political support for developing the industry and attracting increased private investment to help finance and sustain it. 

The report cites tourism success stories in Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and others, which it says simplified their tourism policies, liberalized air transport and diversified tourism while protecting their communities and environments, creating positive investment climates for tourism development.

Private African companies are increasingly attracting regional and international investment and the returns on investing in Africa are among the highest in the world, said Makhtar Diop, World Bank vice president for Africa. In close alliance with the private sector, governments must do their part to create better transport, electricity, infrastructure, and other key services to develop tourism for more broad-based growth and improved livelihoods, he said.

Global hotel chains are expanding across Africa, recognizing investment potential and committing millions of dollars in new projects over the next few years to meet increased demand from international tourists and the continent’s own growing middle class.

In 2012, Africa attracted 33.8 million visitors, up from a low 6.7 million visitors in 1990. Receipts from tourism in 2012 were more than $36 billion, or 2.8 percent of the region’s gross domestic product.

In 2011, global tourism contributed 9.1 percent to world GDP, 5.9 percent of worldwide exports and 4.5 percent of global investment. Africa’s tourism revenues are rising fast and are set to contribute more and more to world activity, the report said. 

Tourism has the potential to accelerate Africa s economic growth and job creation. It can also help accelerate reforms needed to improve airline and road transport as well as other infrastructure, besides raising the incomes of young men and women who form a high percentage of the job holders in the sector. 

For African countries looking to sustain and increase growth, tourism can be harnessed through joint public and private-sector efforts to achieve growth, wealth creation and shared prosperity, said Gaiv Tata, director of financial and private sector development for World Bank in Africa.

This report is the first to comprehensively examine tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa at a regional level and to recommend practical evidence-based measures that could create an economic transformation by leveraging the tourism industry to help create jobs, stem poverty and diversify economies, World Bank claims, according to the report. 

With an analysis of 24 tourism case studies from around the world, the report identified policies and institutional approaches for African countries to make their tourism industry more competitive and attractive to investors. 

Although Africa’s tourism potential has largely gone untapped, it can now take steps to close the gap with other regions, said Hannah Messerli, co-author of the report and senior private sector development specialist in the World Bank Africa. 

The fundamentals are in place for tourism growth, she said.

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