afrol News, 8 October - Throughout 2009, Angola saw an increase in tourist arrivals of 55 percent, mostly from Europe. The impact of the booming tourism industry in the country led to the creation of 134,000 new jobs.
According to latest figures provided by the Angolan Ministry of Tourism, a total of 365,000 people travelled to Angola during 2009, including both leisure and business travellers. The figure translates into a vast increase of 55 percent of tourist arrivals compared.
The month of August saw the Angolan tourist season peak, representing 20 percent of total arrivals during 2009.
As for the origin of visitors, Europe leads the list with 161,000 visitors (compared to 129,000 in 2008), followed by America with 76,000 in 2009 (compared to 59,000 in 2008), Asia with 75,000 (63,000 in 2008) and Africa 48,000 (38,000 in 2008).
According to the Ministry of Tourism of Angola, the growing tourism industry already has had a major impact on employment. In 2009, the sector employed 134,000 Angolans, which means that 31,000 new jobs had been created since 2008. The main workforce is concentrated in the capital, Luanda, whith 104,000 jobs in the tourism sector.
Thus, the latest statistics corroborate the positive trend of Angola's potential tourism sector. Angola still is lacking a sufficiently developed infrastructure for tourism, as the country is slowly recovering after a 25-year civil war that ravaged most of its infrastructure.
Authorities in Luanda in recent years however have shown interest in the development of this necessary infrastructure. The oil-driven Angolan economy has registered an average growth of almost 18 percent over the past four years, following a significant increase public and private investment.
Also the European tourist market in recent years has shown an increased interest in the tourism potential of Angola. In addition to the traditional air routes from the former colony, Portugal, in January the carriers Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines announced their expansion of services to Angola.
Since January, Lufthansa offers two weekly flights to the Angolan capital, Luanda on a codeshare basis, in addition to the twice weekly Luanda flights it already offers in its own name from Franfurt.
Even Spain is now to get direct connections with Luanda, as the Spanish airline Iberia announced plans to operate flights from Madrid to the Angolan capital, starting in 2011. There also exist plans for an Angolan connection to Barcelona.
Angola's tourism sector started at about zero in 2002, when peace finally returned to the country. Decades of war had left the entire infrastructure in ruins. With peace, especially Luanda has experienced a boom and rapid reconstruction. Most of Angola outside the capital remains totally inaccessible to tourists.
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