Africa’s Competitiveness In The Global Economy and The Tourism Sector
Africa’s achievements in tourism revenues and tourists arrivals must be understood in the context of the continent’s relatively unexploited tourism potential. Africa still accounted for only 3.4 percent of global tourism receipts and 5.2 percent of tourist arrivals, despite accounting for almost 15% of the world’s population. Although Travel and Tourism (T&T) sector provides many benefits, numerous obstacles at the national level have continued to hinder its development. The obstacles include: Improving safety, and security, upgrading health and hygiene levels, developing infrastructure and access to African sites, and fostering the region’s human capital. Given the well understood potential for a growing national T&T sector to contribute to employment, raise national income, and reduce poverty, Africa still has ample opportunity to boost its ability to fully reap the benefits the sector offers. The Travel and Tourism competitiveness index (TTCI) is a comprehensive index that aims to measure the factors and policies that make it attractive to develop the T&T sector in different countries. The composition of the sub-indexes which could have contributed to the sectors full potential are government policy regulated. The business environment and infrastructure are not favorable to the tourists. Africa’s Travel and Tourism competitiveness is presented for thirty-five African countries in 2009 and 2011. Tunisia is the top-ranked African country at 47th position, followed closely by Mauritius at 53rd and South Africa at 66th. They clearly set themselves apart as the top African performers in T&T competitiveness. Tunisia and Mauritius are outperformed in the TTCI only by China and Brazil among the comparators shown, and have scores not far behind that of Brazil. The paper compares such competitiveness with countries in Asia and the BRIC countries, (Brazil, Russia, India and China). It is argued that Tourism is a major earner of foreign exchange through international receipts and expenditures which are presented for the global top-ten countries. No African country featured among the top ten countries globally. The paper concludes that Africa’s Tourism sector has the potential which if properly explored would enhance Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy.
Key Words: Africa, Competitiveness, Globalization, Economy, Travel and Tourism