|Getting to Africa: Tourism's Critical Success Factor|
Author: State of Tourism Africa Newsletter
Date: 2 Jun 10
GETTING TO AFRICA: TOURISM'S CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTOR
Recent research in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) air transport trends highlights some useful findings for tourism stakeholders.
Decisions on airline routings are driven by a mix of domestic, interregional, international, and cargo demands. They are also affected by air transport liberization, ease and cost of doing business (landing rights, baggage handling), and fuel costs. In late 2007, 280 of Africa's 2,900 airports had regularly scheduled services. World Bank analysis in November 2009 found 66% OF SSA countries either lack major carrier connections or depend on 1 airline. Limited airline service translates into limited flights and frequency - and an invitation for prospective leisure travelers to go elsewhere.
Further 2009 research concluded that the number of available runways and their general condition is not a constraint for North Africa. Runways at 60% of the airports were found to be in excellent condition in comparison to 17% in SSA. North Africa airports are handling today's passenger with ease while SSA airports are challenged by insufficient apron space, limited use of taxi ways and terminal space for high volumes of passenger traffic is limited. Rather than runways being the greatest challenge, the quality of land based air port infrastructure is a significant constraint, especially for SSA.
SSA air traffic can be better understood in context to other areas. For example, SSA air traffic reached roughly 72.3 million seats in 2007 - just ahead of Madrid's total air traffic volume of 68.5 million. The combined domestic traffic for SSA (27.5 million) was slightly more than twice the overall traffic for the French city of Nice at 13.1 million. North and SSA markets combined totaled about 122.4 million seats, while the US city of Atlanta, Georgia alone posted 103.9 million in 2007. Despite a small base, Africa's growth rates are impressive. Africa's air transport industry grew at a robust rate of 5.76% per year between 2001 and 2007 (as measured in seat kms).
For air transport in Africa to compete with other regions, the inconsistent quality of land based infrastructure can be addressed first by updating airports and terminals rather than building new airports. To address safety concerns, increasing safety oversight by pooling resources and capacity building is necessary. Finally, improving data collection on the air transport sector at all airports is encouraged in order to assist both the public and private sector with their planning for success.
Source: State of Tourism Africa Newsletter, the World Bank/AICD