Africa has long been a popular destination for leisure travellers seeking to experience the continent’s breath-taking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse wildlife. However, AAXO has identified a growing trend whereby business travellers are now making significant contributions to the continent’s overall tourism GDP.In South Africa, tourism is also demonstrating a healthy recovery. Both business and leisure tourist arrivals increased by 78.2% in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022, with the latest reports showing that business spending represents a share of 43% of overall tourism contributions. Devi Paulsen-Abbott, chairperson of AAXO – the Association of African Exhibition Organisers, says, “This development reflects the increasing recognition of Africa’s potential as a hub for international conferences, conventions, and corporate events. This remarkable growth can be attributed to several factors that have combined to make Africa an increasingly attractive destination for business travellers.”
5 key factors contributing to this growthDevi shares the following five factors as key contributors to the rise of business tourism in Africa: Infrastructure investment African countries have made substantial investments in infrastructure development, such as modern airports, state-of-the-art convention centres, and top-notch hotels. These facilities have enhanced the continent’s capacity to host large-scale business events, conferences, and exhibitions. Improved connectivity Enhanced connectivity through expanded flight routes and airline networks has made it easier for international business travellers to access African destinations. Major airlines have increased their services to African cities, providing convenience for corporate travellers. Political stability The continent’s political stability in many regions has fostered an environment conducive to hosting international business events. This stability has increased confidence among organisers and attendees alike. Economic growth
Africa’s emerging economies and growing middle class have attracted more business investment. As a result, the continent has become an attractive location for global companies to expand their operations, leading to an influx of business travellers.Cultural diversity Africa’s diverse cultures and unique experiences are increasingly incorporated into corporate events and conferences. This blend of business and cultural experiences adds to the allure of the continent.