The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today revealed positive signs of recovery for the Travel & Tourism sector in key destination cities across North Africa, providing a major boost to economies across the globe. region.
The report, researched in association with Oxford Economics, looked at key indicators such as the contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP, employment and traveler spending.
Analysis of Cairo, Marrakech and Tunis shows that, in all three cities, the direct contribution to GDP from travel and tourism, sector jobs and visitor spending are recovering to pre-pandemic levels.
The WTTC Cities Economic Impact Report shows that in 2019, the travel and tourism industry contributed more than $5.6 billion to the Cairo economy, more than $1 billion to Marrakesh, and more than $1.2 billion to the economy. from Tunisia.
But the pandemic had a detrimental effect on North African economies as borders were closed to foreign visitors.
Prolonged border closures in source markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy delayed the return of visitors from those countries and had a significant impact on the sector's GDP in North Africa due to declining visitor numbers.
In 2020, across all three cities, Travel & Tourism's GDP contribution more than halved, falling to $1.95 MN in Cairo, $497 MN in Marrakech, and $450 MN in Tunis.
In the past two years, since international travel restrictions were lifted, all three cities have witnessed recoveries.
By 2022, the Cairo sector is expected to have grown to over $4 billion, 28% below 2019 levels, while in Marrakech, the sector is projected to have reached almost $870 million, a 17% below 2019 levels.
In Tunisia, the sector is projected to have reached almost $880 million, 29% below 2019 levels.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “North African cities have long been popular tourist destinations. After more than two years of hiatus, it's great to see tourists return to the region.
“These cities are resilient and on the road to recovery, demonstrating the enduring appeal of North African tourist destinations for international travellers.
“It is crucial that national and local governments continue to recognize the importance of travel and tourism to local and national economies, jobs and businesses.”
jobs on the rise
In 2019 there were more than 246,000 people employed by the travel and tourism sector in the Egyptian capital. In 2020 this figure dropped to just under 139,000 (-44%), but in 2021 employment grew by 25% to almost 174,000 jobs, and is expected to have grown by a further 20% in 2022 to almost 209,000 Job positions.
In Marrakech and Tunis, it's a similar picture.
Before the pandemic, there were more than 102,000 travel and tourism jobs in Marrakech, but this number dropped by nearly 18,000 to just under 85,000 in 2020. A small increase of 3% in 2021 saw the number rise to more than 87,000.
The WTTC forecasts that employment in the sector will grow five times faster by 2022 to reach nearly 100,000 jobs, just 3% less than before the pandemic.
In Tunisia, there were more than 43,000 jobs in 2019, falling to just under 30,000 the following year (-31%). In 2021, the number of jobs grew by 9% to just over 32,000 and the WTTC predicts a further 8% increase in 2022 to reach 35,000 jobs.
The report also shows that the industry's contribution to the three cities will increase by more than $7.4 billion over the next decade to reach a combined total of $13.3 billion.
According to the forecast by the world tourism body, Cairo's travel and tourism sector is expected to increase by more than $5 billion and contribute $9.1 billion, while Marrakech's will provide a boost of almost $ 1.4 billion by 2032 to reach just over $2.25 billion annually.
WTTC also predicts that Tunisia's Travel & Tourism sector will increase by almost $1 billion over the next decade to reach $1.85 billion.