A critical assessment of Africa's growth potential as a global competitive tourism role-player
The rationale for undertaking this study is supported by the tourism figures of Africa. Concerning inbound tourism arrivals, Africa holds a meagre five percent share globally. Intra-African tourism is prominent but within reason, while outbound tourism from Africa is merely three percent of global outbound travel. However, tourism to, within and from Africa is growing at a decent pace, necessitating a greater understanding of Africa's potential as a global competitive role player in the tourism industry. The goal of this study was therefore to explore Africa's potential as a global competitive destination and travel market, by investigating the determinants that influence inbound, intra-African and outbound tourism arrivals. In order to reach this goal, particular objectives were set and these were addressed in the 7 chapters of this study. Chapter 2 set out to investigate competitiveness, the role that trade theories had in developing competitiveness, and the formation of a destination competitiveness model. Chapter 3 introduced the literature about Africa and the complexities that the tourism industry faces, referencing standard determinants that influence tourism arrivals from an inbound, intra-African and outbound tourism perspective. Furthermore, the importance of regional economic integration is discussed and a brief assessment of each African region was made with regard to tourism conditions and economic strengths and challenges. The empirical chapters offer insight into inbound tourism (Chapter 4), intra-African tourism (Chapter 5), and outbound tourism (Chapter 6). The investigation into inbound tourism revealed that panel data methods are useful tools in determining which factors/variables influence travel to Africa. Two approaches were applied, namely the Generalised Method of Moments (GMM) and the bias-corrected least square dummy variable (LSDV). The analysis was performed to evaluate Africa holistically, as well as, per region. Using static and dynamic panel estimators, two key findings were identified from this research: (1) Tourism to the continent is influenced by income in developed countries, prices, infrastructure and geographical factors as well as conservation efforts; and (2) the regions in Africa do not all react the same to changes in these factors, indicating unique regional determinants that imply that Africa cannot be simply treated as a unit. Addressing intra-African travel necessitated a brief investigation into Africa's history, from the slave trade and conquest, colonialism in Africa to Africa's independence and present state. Moreover, a trade theoretical approach was applied to investigate intra-African tourism. Trade theory was concisely reviewed, advising the methods and approaches that were used in the analysis, namely the gravity model, Linder's hypothesis, comparative advantage and Heckscher-Ohlin (H-O) theory. The gravity results reveal that the general gravity model is useful in explaining intra-African tourism flows with GDP per capita and population size contributing to tourism arrivals, while distance discourages arrivals. Moreover, mutual variables such as common language, common border, and common coloniser contribute to arrivals. Intra-African tourism do not support Linder's hypothesis with large differences between countries increasing tourism flows. Furthermore, less urbanised countries tend to travel to more urbanised countries, and vice versa, again contradicting Linder's theory. The revealed comparative advantage (RCA) results indicate that countries with an affinity for worldwide tourism receipts also benefit from intra-African tourism. The H-O results reveal that natural resource endowment might not contribute to intra-African travel, however rather confirm that cultural and geographic proximity and the development of the destination country, dictate intra-African travel. Outbound tourism from Africa were analysed using the Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS). The use of the AIDS model has been extensively explored in literature, however the application in an African context is limited. Static and dynamic AIDS models were estimated. The results reveal that income changes in Africa will benefit arrivals to North America, Asia and Europe and other African destinations. Additionally, substitute and complementary destinations were identified. Since the study investigated multiple facets of tourism by means of various methods and techniques, the literature and practical contributions were identified. This research mainly advocates for enhanced trade relations within the continent that will contribute to more stability and enhanced living standards. The role of regional integration and the prioritisation of tourism is essentially the contributing factor to address political and social reform by means of redefined policy development, planning and implementation. Additionally, this research contributes to the current state of tourism arrivals research in Africa, by providing insight into the concerns that regions face in attracting increased arrivals to the continent, as well as, how the continent can prosper from increased intra-African travel and subsequently develop Africa into a future tourism source market for other global destinations. Therefore, the study provides insight into increasing Africa's competiveness as a global tourism role player.
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