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Re-entry of Higher Capacity Aircraft on African Routes Shows Recovery of Hard Hit Travel Sector

The return of Chinese tourists to Africa and a full resumption of operations on international routes by African airlines are the latest indicators of a rebounding tourism industry, badly hit by the covid-19 pandemic two years ago. China has picked three African countries—Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa—among 20 across the globe for piloting outbound group tours, nearly a month after lifting travel restrictions. United Nations World Travel Organisation’s latest World Tourism Barometer confirms the return of Chinese tourists will significantly boost Africa’s international arrival numbers and push them to 2019 levels. Africa has recovered about 65% of its pre-pandemic visitor numbers following a more than doubling of international arrivals from 19.4 million in 2021 to 45 million in 2022. UNWTO attributed the rebound ‘to a large pent-up demand and the easing of travel restrictions across 116 countries that saw a number of African countries exceed pre-covid arrivals and revenues.’ According to the barometer, Ethiopia’s arrivals had risen 3% above pre-pandemic levels, while Morocco’s tourism receipts grew 6% in the first ten to twelve months of 2022.