New airline routes and fresh optimism on the continent have prompted robust growth in Africa's international flight arrivals to 13.3 percent in early and mid 2017 compared to the equivalent period last year, an aviation report said Wednesday.
The report was released by ForwardKeys, a global travel patterns firm, during Aviation Africa 2017 (AviaDev 2017) conference that runs alongside Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
The central Africa country hosts AHIF together with AviaDev 2017 from Oct. 10 to 12, which has gathered more than 500 delegates, including aviation and hospitality sectors experts, investors and government officials from countries across Africa and beyond.
"The increase was driven by a net increase of 82 routes and strong growth from the Americas, up 17.8 percent, Europe, up 12.7 percent, Africa, up 12.5 percent and Asia Pacific, up 16.4 percent," said the report.
Egypt and Tunisia are leading the recovery after the health and security concerns of 2014 to 2016 began to fade, it said.
"It is notable that consumer demand and airline investment has been greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries," said Jon Howell, managing director of AviaDev.
The three-day forum focuses on developing a robust hospitality and aviation sectors in Africa. It features interactive sessions, an exhibition and networking events.
The report further said that bookings for travel to Africa for the rest of 2017 (from Sept. 21 to the end of the year) are 15.2 percent ahead of last year due to early bookings from the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Destinations of the East African Community (EAC) have seen strong growth of 12.2 percent this year, particularly from European visitors. Arrivals from the Americas and Asia Pacific grew less than those travelling within Africa, said the report.
African aviation is showing extremely healthy growth, said Olivier Jager, chief executive officer of ForwardKeys.
ForwardKeys predicted that future global travel patterns by analyzing more than 17 million booking transactions a day.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), across Africa, specifically, air transport supports 6.8 million jobs and contributes 72.5 billion U.S. dollars to Africa's GDP.
IATA predicted that all of the top ten fastest-growing aviation markets in the next 20 years will all be in Africa.
According to the African Development Bank, demand for air transport has increased steadily over the past years with passenger numbers and freight traffic growing by 45 percent and 80 percent.