Africa: Despite challenges, data shows promise
The latest analysis by STR Global reveals that despite high levels of inflation and political uncertainty, Africa is proving that it is a growing tourist and business destination as hotels in a number of key markets are reporting performance increases for year-to-date June 2013.
However, a big barrier for Africa tourism is the lack of transportation infrastructure. Even though some low-cost air carriers have emerged over the last decade, only a small percentage of airfields are paved and airlift remains limited due to high operating costs. Africa?s railway infrastructure is not without its own set of challenges due to limited interconnected rail systems as most of the national rail systems operate independently. Non-standardized gauges, break systems and traction and obsolete equipment further compound the situation.
?In spite of many unsolved problems, Africa shows a promising future. There is an increasing interest in a number of countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where tourism is more developed,? said Elizabeth Randall Winkle, managing director of STR Global. ?Tanzania has recorded YTD June 2013 growth in RevPAR of 10.6%, largely due to successful April and June, which saw a 25.7% and 27.4% increase in RevPAR in U.S. dollar terms on the prior year, respectively.?
Egypt as an exception has continued to suffer from the ill effects of its revolution when occupancy rates dropped as low as 15% in February 2011 in Cairo. The capital has been experiencing ongoing unrest and the recent overthrow of President Morsi will determine a different story. Hotels in the Red Sea resorts are still trying to recover and although occupancy is up 24.7% YTD June 2013 to achieve occupancy levels of 45.2%, which is on par with Cairo, it is still below the 61.7% achieved by hotels in the Red Sea Resort YTD June 2010.
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