Africa attracted 63 million of the 1.3 billion international tourists in 2017, study shows.
The figure was, nevertheless, 9 percent higher than the previous year, according to the study commissioned by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The chief executive of SME TradeLinks, Dr Salifou Siddo, who took part in the UN-sponsored study on the eastern Africa countries' tourism sector, presented the findings at a conference in Kigali, Rwanda, Thursday.
“Investment follows tourism. Africa should utilise the readily available $45 billion financing the World Bank has allocated it until 2020 focusing on agriculture, housing and tourism,” said Dr Siddo, at the 22nd meeting of Inter-Governmental Experts Committee.
According to UNECA, eastern Africa countries attracted $3.11 billion investment, which is 11 percent of Africa's total $26.22 billion in 2017.
The study shows that of the total $3.22 billion investments in the tourism sector of eastern Africa countries in 2017, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia shared 66.4 per cent.
Dr Siddo advised the eastern Africa countries to promote themselves as single tourist destination, to increase their share of the global arrivals.
Failure to promote tourism and lack of transparency and accountability, as well as the inability to introduce new products, were mentioned as some of the weaknesses of Africa.
Dr Siddo said focus should also be given to local small and medium enterprises with incentives from the government such as addressing financial shortages through provision of guarantees and facilitation of loan from commercial banks.
The UNECA study indicated that travel and tourism represented 10.4 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.
Globally, tourism provides 60 per cent of total employment and 40 per cent of GDP of emerging economies.