According to a recently published report, inbound trips via air travel in East Africa, are set to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 8.8% in 2024.
The industry analysts found that projected growth in air travel will be due to investment in airport infrastructure and East Africa’s global reputation for being one of the world’s best ecotourism and wildlife destinations.
The forecast builds on air travel’s substantial rise between 2009 and 2019. During this period, inbound air travel trips in East Africa increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.1%.
Despite the pandemic, East Africa is still globally recognized as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. The region includes destinations such as Kenya, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Rwanda, amongst others. The destination witnessed a surge in inbound air travel in 2021 due to the easing of travel restrictions.
Based on what we have seen so far, inbound air arrivals will increase by 163% Year-over-Year (YoY) in 2021. This makes East Africa one of the fastest recovering regions globally for inbound air travel.
Continued investment in airline partnerships and infrastructure is a major reason for this and they have become vital for connecting regional areas to the rest of the world.
The relationships established through codeshares and airline partnerships have been vital to East Africa’s tourism development success over the last decade. Many airlines will continue to make strategic connections with other airlines operating in the region, including legacy carriers such as Kenya Airways and low-cost carriers such as Mango Air and Fastjet.
Established carriers such as British Airways, Emirates and South African Airlines have deep partnerships with East African air carriers, helping connect them to desirable, high-spending source markets.
With new entrants in the market such as Ugandan Air looking to make strategic partnerships with global carriers, many destinations within the East Africa region will continue to become accessible to a worldwide market. Further developments within airport infrastructure will also be a key factor.
The Tourism Construction Project Database reports new airports are being constructed in Kigali and Rwanda, as well as a planned expansion to SSR International, Mauritius and $2.5 billion worth of nationwide airport upgrades across Uganda.