SINGAPORE, 6 December 2022: After a bumpy road in travel recovery during the post-pandemic phase, Africa is now performing above the global average when looking at international arrivals for 2022, according to ForwardKeys’ latest air ticketing data.
Long-haul travel to West and Central Africa recovers faster
International travel is currently 30% behind pre-covid levels, yet Africa in Q4 of 2022 is just -19% under 2019 levels. At the same time, the 2023 outlook is even more promising, at -11% of international arrivals.
Closer inspection of the top performing regions and destinations, travel recovery shows growth is led by West and Central Africa, at -6% and +10% for Q4 travel compared to 2019 levels. At a country level, the best performer in Q4 of 2022 is Cape Verde, +10%, followed by Ivory Coast, -3% and Ghana, -9%.
“West and Central Africa benefit from VFR travel from Europe and North America. Our data shows growing interest from Portugal and Spain for Cape Verde, while the improved seat capacity from the US to Ghana is attracting a more premium travel crowd,” says Gordon Clark, VP of Business Development at ForwardKeys.
“Southern Africa has been recovering slower due to the impact of Omicron early in the year,” he adds.
The 2023 outlook for Africa looks rosy
Looking ahead at Q1 2023, Central and West Africa will continue to drive the recovery. East Africa will come close to 2019 levels due to strong demand from leisure travellers from Western Europe. Recovery is slowly spreading across the regions of Africa, and flight connectivity plays a pivotal role.
“Seamless connectivity is vital for encouraging travellers to visit Africa,” says Clark.
The top airport hubs for connecting passengers onwards to West Africa are Paris Charles de Gaul and Amsterdam Schiphol; however, the dark horse to keep an eye on is Istanbul International Airport which has grown four percentage points in Q4 versus pre-pandemic times. This is due to Turkish Airlines ramping up capacity to West Africa.