Luxury Tourism: Africa’s Latest Post-Pandemic Recovery Plan

Africa is known for many things all over the world including its colourful culture that differs from town to town, country to country; its fashion that is beginning to dominate global trends, and its skincare industry that in recent times has garnered attention. But now, the continent is looking to put another sector on the international scene: luxury tourism.

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
Africa has such amazing natural sights that it should be the ultimate tourist destination. Image courtesy of the BBC

In spite of its generally agreeable climate, natural endowments and rich history, the African continent has not gotten as much as it should from tourism. A report from JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co. put the total contribution of the industry – as of 2019 – to the continent’s economy at 7.1 per cent, which is low when you compare it to Europe that received 9.1 per cent to its GDP and South East Asia that saw a 12.1 per cent contribution for the same period.

With a report from Allied Market Research predicting that the global luxury tourism market will reach $1.2trillion by 2027, some African countries have decided to up their game and position themselves squarely in this sector with creative and strategic initiatives.


In addition to several other initiatives, Kenya announced a partnership with TikTok that will see it using the wildly successful, small video platform to raise awareness of tourist sights and target a wider audience.

The Great wildbeest Migration at the Serengeti National Park
Kenya is looking to increase its rate of luxury tourist arrivals. Broadcasting the wildebeest migration on TikTok is one of its strategies. Image courtesy of Back to Africa Safaris

“Together with TikTok, we can engage the world with content and experiences from any part of the country and drive more awareness of our country and wildlife, especially during this time when travel is limited with the aim of curbing the spread of the virus,” said Betty Radier, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Tourism Board.

The TikTok partnership allowed Kenya – also in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Conservation International – to broadcast the spectacular wildebeest migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to Kenya’s Maasai Mara’s National Park via the platform’s LIVE feature from August 25-29.

At about the same time, the East African country also played host to fifteen American guests who were invited to partake in a $125,000 per person, 12-day luxury tour to four iconic African destinations made possible through its MagicalKenya Signature Experiences program.

Dubbed the ‘Greatest Safari on Earth’ and organized by travel company Roar Africa and airline Emirates, the high profile tourists will experience the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya, watch Gorillas in Rwanda, visit the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and experience the pristine wilderness of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Kenya hopes that these marketing strategies will pay off and that the losses to the luxury tourism industry it suffered in the wake of the pandemic will be a thing of the past.

South Africa

In 2019, South Africa was the second Africa country to record the highest revenue from tourism with a total of 10.23 million arrivals. COVID-19 may have stalled its growth, but it has started putting new plans in place to reclaim and surpass its position as a luxury tourist haven on the continent.

Bosjes Chapel, Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa wants to dominate Africa luxury tourism

In April 2022, it will host African and overseas exhibitors during Africa Travel Week. This conference, which will take place in Cape Town, is part of wider efforts to spark a post-COVID resurgence in travel on the continent. Among other things, it will showcase current tourism investments across the continent including in health and safety protocols geared to welcoming international visitors and renew partnerships with local and international organizations to reignite tourism to the continent.

“Africa Travel Week is the perfect platform for us to showcase, to the international market, how our tourism sector has adapted to the times and improved on our already world-class offerings,” said Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Dan Plato in a statement.

This event follows the 2019 Africa’s Travel Indaba where specially-curated extravagant travel escapes at the Lap of Luxury Pavilion were made available to visitors.


Interestingly, Morocco had the highest revenue from tourism in 2019 with a total of 12.93 million international arrivals. Like the rest of the world, it was hit by the pandemic but has now made plans to bounce back.

The Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts positions Morocco as a leader in Africa luxury tourism
Morocco is a popular tourist destination, but its focus on its citizens in the diaspora has helped boost its luxury tourism sector post-pandemic. Image courtesy of Planetware

Unlike the other countries mentioned above, the north African country took a different approach to boost tourism and its economy. It focused on Moroccans in diaspora, announcing subsidised tickets and urging stakeholders in the transportation sector to bring down prices to levels “that are within everyone’s reach.”

The move paid off. Popular hotels that target high net worth individuals in Marrakesh are reportedly recording up to 100% in occupancy rates.

As continues to reap the rewards of this initiative, it is only a matter of time before it turns its eye to other international communities and rolls out strategies to bring them over as well.

Source: Quartz Africa

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