Africa Beyond Borders

Countries in Africa are prioritising visa-free travel around the continent for inhabitants and visitors as an essential factor in the region’s economic development, according to Euromonitor International research presented in the WTM London (World Travel Market London) this year.

In contrast to the US and Europe, where there countries are increasing calls for stronger border controls and barring certain travelers from entry, African leaders are seeing travel and tourism as a way to boost the economic prosperity of the continent. Research by the African Development Bank shows that in 2016, Africans did not need a visa to travel to only 20% of other African countries. In many cases, it is harder for an African citizen to enter an African country than it is for a US citizen. Some countries, however, have made good progress, with Ghana starting to offer visas upon arrival for all AU member states in 2016 and visa-free travel for 17 countries, many of which are fellow members of the Economic Community of West African States.

The travel industry has a role to play too: Direct air routes between countries remain limited, forcing many African citizens to travel via Europe to reach another African country, while increasing flights between regional hubs would contribute to a more open Africa. More intra-Africa flights would help address a dilemma facing the regions’ tourists’ boards and destination management companies. Currently many budgets are focused on attracting European and North American travelers instead of their neighbours.

Euromonitor International presented the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking Report in the WTM London event November 2017. To download the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking Report, visit: