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Pickens Marketing, Hospitality, and Tourism program instructor Courtney B. Tanguma have likely focused on the hospitality and tourism opportunities right here in Colorado. It’s a smart place to start. Not only does the Denver metro area attract an army of tourists every year on its own, but the skiing areas and the natural mountain beauty also attract visitors. Hospitality and tourism are huge in this state, which is both a regional and national destination for many people. Even folks from outside the United States cross Colorado off their lists when they visit the states.

The lessons you’re learning from Tanguma can be applied to any area that’s a desirable place to visit. On a global scale, the rising tourism industry in Africa is growing as at least one part of the solution to the poverty the entire continent has been known for. Now, more than ever, Africans and outsiders alike are traveling to destinations previously underdeveloped in the continent. Are there opportunities for new hospitality and tourism experts and business owners, and how is this recent boom improving the economies of many African nations?

Untapped Potential

It doesn’t take a marketing and business genius to see that the massive continent of Africa is rife with tourist possibilities beyond the typical tourist traps on the extreme northern and southern ends of the continent. The pyramids in Egypt, picturesque North African beaches and Moorish architecture, and the lush promontories of South Africa and its bevy of rare wildlife species, have long been destinations for world travelers and for Africans themselves. But that, of course, leaves out the interior, filled with incredible destinations only waiting for their moment in the sun.

Several countries in Africa have been highlighted not only has harboring excellent vacation spots but as potential places that could boost the economy and lead to changes many Africans in many countries need.

Ethiopia – The only country in Africa to remain independent during the disastrous 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, Ethiopia has been experiencing uninterrupted economic growth since the end of its war with neighboring Eritrea in 2000. One of the drivers of that growth has been tourism. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Ethiopia’s tourism economy rose from $352 million in 2003 to almost $1.32 billion in 2014. Current projections estimate the tourism economy, along with the 1.5 million jobs it provides to Ethiopians, will continue to grow beyond 2024.
Ghana – This West African country committed to growing its tourism economy back in 1994, and despite setbacks such as political instability and sudden regime changes, its hospitality industry is healthy. Today, with more overall air traffic landing in Ghana and more international visitors from the continent and elsewhere, tourism comprises 6.7% of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product.
East Africa – Coastal countries have the advantage, particularly in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where beach resorts are popping up to accommodate the rising African middle class. While there are still plenty of issues with many of these countries, tourism could be part of the solution.

While it’s unlikely you’ll get started at an African tourism country fresh out of Pickens, the rise of this continent’s tourism and hospitality industry proves that there are opportunities to use your expertise all over the world.