International tourist arrivals in Africa grew by more than 2 million visitors driven by strong growth in key markets of Kenya, South Africa and Mauritius.
Market research firm Euro-monitor says domestic air travel grew highest in Kenya rising by 22 percent.
Kenya’s main international airports in Nairobi and Kisumu have been undergoing major expansion in a bid to drive traffic which is project to grow to 20 million passengers by the year 2025.
In the last three years, the government has commissioned two new terminals at JKIA which have brought the airports overall capacity to 7.5 million passengers a year.
These investments appear to be paying off according to the latest data. Research firm Euro-monitor says long-haul international flights to Kenya grew by 8%, making Nairobi the only major African city where domestic air travel is outpacing international traffic.
Domestic air travel recorded 22% growth in 2017, beating its closest competitors Tunis and Addis Ababa, which expanded 14% and 9% respectively.
The report says domestic air travel has been facilitated by a number of factors; key among them the improvement of key airports.
The growth is also attributed to rising income and lower air fares due to stiff competition. Nairobi also saw high numbers of African travelers last year where it led other African cities with a 15 percent growth.
The Euro-monitor report predicts that growth in international arrivals to Sub-Saharan Africa will reach 25 billion trips by 2022.
Arrivals to Africa are expected to see continued growth driven by increased interest from overseas visitors due to competitive rates.
Aggressive brand marketing campaigns and the introduction of new and increased direct air connectivity to and from major overseas markets is also expected to boost inbound arrivals to the region.