Photo Credit: Roger Sekoua
Ground Travel In Africa Rebounds, But International Travel Lags
Africa saw its travel and tourism industries decimated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while domestic ground travel has picked up on the continent in recent weeks, international travel continues to lag.
A study conducted with the Mastercard Economics Institute (via VenturesAfrica) explains why this is so. The short answer is, international travel is not yet available in Africa. The long answer, of course, is much more complicated.
“There are indicators of recovery across some markets in the Middle East & Africa, for example, gas spending in Nigeria and Egypt are already above 2019 peaks. Although we still have some way to go amidst ongoing uncertainty, there is an appetite among consumers to move and discover. Alongside safe, systematic opening of markets and continued momentum in vaccine rollouts, countries will start to see more signs of gradual travel recovery,” said David Mann, Chief Economist, Asia and MEA, Mastercard.
With that said, the trends for international travel are on an uptick, though it’s still a long way from a full recovery. Some countries — like Kenya and Nigeria — have seen their international travel go on a steady incline. However, when Mastercard factored in the other countries in Africa — and their failure to fully reopen, let alone allow for international travel — they could only conclude that travel, on the whole, is on a decline on an international scale.
However, the story changes completely when domestic ground travel is considered. Domestic flights in South Africa are up more than 56 percent. Sales at leisurely places — such as wig shops and bike shops — are up exponentially. And gasoline expenditure in Africa is also on the rise. In Egypt and Nigeria, spend at gas stations are already higher than their 2019 peaks, while in the UAE and Kenya, they have equalized previous levels.
This suggests that road trips throughout the continent are quickly emerging as a trend — and the trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.