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Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa ( Table 7 of the World Economic Forum Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Index shows the results for the sub-Saharan region which sees the Seychelles entering the rankings for the first time at the top of the region, and 38th overall. The importance of Travel&Tourism for the country’s economy is reflected in its top ranking for the prioritization of the industry, with the 2nd highest T&T expenditure–to-GDP ratio in the world and effective marketing and branding campaigns. These efforts are reinforced by a strong national affinity for Travel&Tourism (5th); good tourism infrastructure, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (6th); and good ground and air transport infrastructures, particularly by regional standards (31st and 27th, respectively). These positive attributes somewhat make up for its relative lack of price competitiveness (120th). Although the natural environment is now assessed as being in good condition, efforts to develop the industry in a sustainable way could be reinforced, for example by increasing marine and terrestrial protection, which would help to protect the many threatened species in the country (132nd).

Mauritius loses its number one spot in the regional rankings, overtaken by the entry of the Seychelles this year, and is ranked 58th overall. The prioritization of the industry remains high (3rd), together with a strong national affinity for Travel&Tourism (6th). The country’s tourism and ground infrastructure are well developed by regional standards (48th and 37th, respectively), and its policy environment is supportive of the development of the sector (ranked 28th). Mauritius also benefits from high marks for safety and security (36th). However, the country has seen its price competitiveness decline significantly (ranked 75th, down from 18th in the last assessment)—primarily the result of increasing hotel and fuel prices and high ticket taxes and airport charges. Additionally, in terms of challenges, the country’s environmental sustainability has received a weakened assessment, of particular concern given the importance of the natural environment for the country’s leisure tourism. South Africa is ranked 3rd in the region and 64th overall, gaining two places since the last edition. South Africa comes in high at 17th place for its natural resources and 58th for its cultural resources, based on its many World Heritage sites, its rich fauna, its creative industries, and the many international fairs and exhibitions held in the country.

Infrastructure in South Africa is also well developed for the region, with air transport infrastructure ranked 43rd and a particularly good assessment of railroad quality (46th) and road quality (42nd). Overall, policy rules and regulations are conducive to the sector’s development (ranked 29th); this is an area where the country has improved steadily over the past few assessments, with well-protected property rights and few visa requirements for visitors. Indeed, tourism continues to be one of the five priority sectors in the country’s growth plan, and the government has reviewed tourism legislation in an effort to streamline it further. However, there are also some areas of weakness that have brought down the country’s overall ranking. Safety and security remains quite worrisome (ranked 117th), as does the level of health and hygiene (87th) - the result of low physician density and concerns about access to improved sanitation. Related to this, human resources are also negatively affected by the poor health of much of the workforce, with a low life expectancy (129th, at 52 years) driven by high rates of communicable diseases such as HIV (137th). Improving the health of the workforce is of urgent concern for the future of the T&T sector, as well as for all other sectors in the economy.
Additionally, this year South Africa has experienced an increase in fuel prices (77th) and ticket taxes and airport charges (105th), which have diminished its price competitiveness.

Namibia reaches 5th place the regional rankings, coming in at 91st overall. The country benefits from its rich natural resources, with rich fauna and a pristine natural environment. Indeed, environmental sustainability is prioritized to some extent in the country (ranked 36th), which is critical given the importance of the quality of the environment for Namibia’s tourism. In addition, ground transport infrastructure is somewhat developed by regional standards (60th). In order to further develop the sector, a more conducive policy environment will be important. For example, despite efforts in recent years, it remains costly and time consuming to start a business.
T&T regulatory Business environment T&T human, cultural,
OVERALL INDEX framework and infrastructure and natural resources
Regional Overall
Country/Economy rank rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
Seychelles 1 38 4.51 47 4.94 42 4.35 48 4.26
Mauritius 2 58 4.28 32 5.16 55 4.04 93 3.65
South Africa 3 64 4.13 81 4.44 59 3.93 57 4.03
Cape Verde 4 87 3.87 79 4.45 66 3.72 107 3.45
Namibia 5 91 3.77 89 4.30 70 3.62 115 3.38
Gambia, The 6 92 3.73 72 4.50 93 3.27 111 3.43
Botswana 7 94 3.71 84 4.38 91 3.31 112 3.43
Kenya 8 96 3.66 108 3.98 105 2.98 60 4.01
Rwanda 9 105 3.56 78 4.46 117 2.74 104 3.49
Senegal 10 107 3.49 111 3.91 113 2.84 88 3.71
Zambia 11 108 3.46 102 4.11 122 2.69 98 3.60
Tanzania 12 109 3.46 118 3.67 125 2.68 59 4.02
Uganda 13 116 3.39 116 3.71 121 2.70 79 3.76
Ghana 14 117 3.38 113 3.86 108 2.94 117 3.35
Zimbabwe 15 118 3.33 117 3.67 116 2.76 101 3.56
Swaziland 16 119 3.31 107 4.02 106 2.96 135 2.94
Ethiopia 17 120 3.29 122 3.60 127 2.65 97 3.61
Cameroon 18 121 3.27 123 3.58 124 2.68 102 3.56
Malawi 19 124 3.22 115 3.77 135 2.48 113 3.43
Mozambique 20 125 3.17 121 3.64 120 2.72 130 3.15
Côte d’Ivoire 21 126 3.15 133 3.31 118 2.73 114 3.41
Nigeria 22 127 3.14 135 3.26 114 2.83 118 3.33
Burkina Faso 23 128 3.12 120 3.64 134 2.55 129 3.16
Mali 24 129 3.11 128 3.45 129 2.61 121 3.28
Benin 25 130 3.09 127 3.46 130 2.61 126 3.20
Madagascar 26 131 3.09 132 3.33 119 2.73 127 3.20
Lesotho 27 135 2.89 126 3.46 132 2.60 139 2.62
Guinea 28 136 2.88 136 3.24 137 2.38 134 3.03
Sierra Leone 29 137 2.87 129 3.43 138 2.36 137 2.81
Burundi 30 138 2.82 130 3.40 139 2.33 138 2.73
Chad 31 139 2.61 139 2.90 140 2.11 136 2.82
© 2013 World Economic Forum
1.1: The Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Index 2013
26 | The Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013

Health and hygiene is also not up to international standards (106th): the country has few doctors and insufficient access to improved sanitation and drinking water. More generally, improving the country’s human Table 7: The Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Index 2013: Sub-Saharan Africa resources base (130th) through better education and training and more conducive labor laws will be critical. Botswana is ranked 7th in the region and 94th overall, down three places since the last edition of the Index. The country, known for its beautiful natural parks, is ranked 39th out of all countries for its natural resources, with much nationally protected land area, rich fauna, and limited environmental damage. The country also benefits from excellent price competitiveness, where it is ranked 12th because of low ticket taxes and airport charges and a favorable tax regime. In addition, some aspects of the policy environment are supportive of the sector’s development, including well-protected property rights and few visa restrictions. However, Botswana does face some challenges that lead to its rather low ranking overall. The country’s bilateral Air Service Agreements are not rewarded as open (120th), and much time is still required to start a new business (61 days, placing the country 131st). Further, Botswana’s transport and ICT infrastructures are somewhat underdeveloped, as is its tourism infrastructure, with a low hotel room concentration, a limited presence of international car rental companies, and relatively few ATMs. Despite slight improvements, some concerns remain in the area of health and hygiene (97th), attributable to a low physician density, limited hospital beds, and insufficient access to improved sanitation. Associated with this, Botswana’s greatest comparative weakness is the health of the workforce.

Kenya, a country long famous for its tourism attributes, is ranked 8th regionally and 96th overall, rising seven places since the last assessment. Kenya is ranked 14th for its natural resources, with its three World Heritage natural sites and its rich diversity of fauna. Tourism is a recognized priority within the country (ranked 23rd on this pillar), with high government spending on the sector and effective destination marketing campaigns. In addition, a strong focus on environmental sustainability results in a rank of 21st, which is particularly important for Kenya given the sector’s dependence on the natural environment. This focus seems to be bearing fruit and contributes to the overall improvement of Kenya in the rankings. On the downside, the policy environment presents a mixed picture and is not sufficiently conducive to the development of the sector (ranked 95th). Although openness in terms of visa requirements and bilateral Air Service Agreements has improved significantly, property rights are insufficiently protected, and much time and high costs are still required to start a business.

In addition, infrastructure remains underdeveloped and health and hygiene levels require improvement, as does the human resources base (106th). Finally, the security situation in the country remains a significant hindrance to further developing the sector (ranked 135th). Tanzania ranks 12th in the region and 109th overall, moving up one place since the last assessment. Tanzania’s biggest attraction for tourists remains its outstanding endowment in natural resources (4th), with several World Heritage natural sites, rich fauna, and much protected land area. This is buttressed by some focus in the country on environmental sustainability (ranked 45th). However, protecting the country’s rich fauna remains challenging, as demonstrated by the low rank (110th) for the percentage of threatened species in the country.

Tanzania’s policy environment has improved significantly in terms of the openness of the country’s bilateral Air Service Agreements and visa requirements. Nonetheless, further efforts are required in the area by better protecting property rights (103th) and lowering the costs and time required to start a business. The other main issues of concern are insufficient safety and security (120th) and infrastructure that requires significant upgrading. Another area Tanzania should focus on must be improving the human resources base (116th), especially the improving health of the workforce and upgrading the educational system. Zimbabwe is ranked 118th, up one place since last year, yet with an extremely low ranking for a country that was, until relatively recently, a popular tourist destination. Indeed, Zimbabwe is ranked 22nd for its rich natural resources, which have long drawn international travelers to the country, and a number of World Heritage natural sites, much nationally protected land area, and rich fauna. Despite these strengths, the Index mainly highlights weaknesses in other areas. The policy environment continues to be among the least supportive of T&T industry development in the world (ranked 138th), with extremely poor assessments for laws related to FDI and property rights; furthermore, starting a business is extremely time consuming and costly. Safety and security is also a major concern, with high crime and violence and a lack of trust in the police to provide protection from crime (120th). There are also major concerns related to human resources (134th), with low enrollment rates in primary and secondary education by international standards, and among the worst health indicators in the world.

Nigeria is ranked 22nd in the region and 127th overall, an improvement of three places since the last assessment. Nigeria has important natural resources that could be leveraged to develop its T&T industry, which would usher in benefits to its overall economy and to its development agenda. However, Nigeria’s T&T competitiveness continues to be held back by several issues that are also important for its general economic development. The country’s safety and security is among the poorest in the world (136th), as are health and hygiene levels (133th). Infrastructures require significant upgrading, especially ground transport (119th) and tourism infrastructure (103rd). Additionally, policy rules and regulation are not sufficiently supportive of the development of the sector, with insufficiently protected property rights (116th), significant costs and time needed to start a business, and extensive visa requirements (126th). Moreover, Nigeria suffers from a lack of price competitiveness, particularly by regional standards, with very high ticket taxes and charges and hotel prices. Yet the T&T sector is not seen a high priority for the country (133th), which may make efforts across these many areas all the more difficult. Several African countries are ranked below the 120th position overall, including the two newly covered economies Guinea (136th) and Sierra Leone (137th). These countries must address many of the basic factors required to make it attractive to develop their T&T sectors, including improved safety and security, health, and infrastructure.

We have looked at the T&T competitiveness of 140 economies, spanning all regions of the world, based on the World Economic Forum’s Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI). The TTCI represents our best efforts to capture the complex phenomenon of T&T competitiveness, demonstrating that a whole array of reforms and improvements in different areas are required for improving the T&T competitiveness of nations. By highlighting success factors and obstacles to
T&T competitiveness in economies around the world, the TTCI is a tool that can be used to identify the competitive strengths of individual economies as well as the barriers that impede the development of the sector. The Index also allows economies to track their progress over time on those indicators of interest. We will continue to publish The Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report on a biennial basis, ensuring that the TTCI can continue to be used as a platform for dialogue between the business community and national policymakers working together to improve the T&T competitiveness of their respective economies, and thus improving the growth prospects and prosperity of their tourism industry.


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