Côte d’Ivoire’s Tourism on a Positive Rebound Trajectory


Côte d’Ivoire’s Tourism sector is experiencing some encouraging signs of recovery. This follows the official release of figures by the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Leisure on the sector’s performance.

Côte d’Ivoire, like other countries in the world, is still living with the consequences of the covid-19 crisis.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, tourism figures were on an upward trend. Thus, from 2012 to 2019, the Tourism Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tripled from 2.4% to 7.3%, while the flow of international tourists increased from 289,000 to 2,070,189 international travellers, i.e. an average annual growth rate of 27.91% over the period.

It is in this context of growth that the “Sublime Côte d’Ivoire” megaproject was developed with the vision of making the sector a major economic pillar for the country’s growth and increasing its attractiveness for domestic and foreign direct investment.

Cote D’ivoire’s Minister of Tourism and Leisure Siandou Fofana

Unfortunately, projections of the activities of Sublime Cote d’Ivoire took a battering as a result of the disruptive pandemic. However, there seems to be an encouraging sign of rebound following the easing of restrictions and reopening of the borders which has enabled the revival of tourism activities throughout the country, corroborated by a marginal growth in GDP in 2021 estimated at 1.8%.

The West African Francophone economic giant is seeing some encouraging signs of recovery. Its international tourist arrivals grew 102% from the last 2020 figures.

It recorded an impressive 575,819 International arrivals in 2021 a whirlwind performance compared to 2020 arrival figures which stood at 284109 representing a 102% increase.

It is important to emphasize that, it’s still far from the pre-pandemic levels which saw 2019 recording 2,070,159 international arrivals.

The growth trajectory of the country’s international arrivals was evident in its report year on year from 2015-to 2019 representing 9.48% average (1,441,000-2,070,159

Côte d’Ivoire ranks third on the continent for business tourism, behind Nigeria and Morocco. Business travel maintained its lead as the largest share of tourist spending with a significant 42.8% translating 246681 of travels to the country. VFS follows with 36.3% of the share.

Segments of Travel
Mice, business – 246681-42.84%
Visitor families – 209022- 36.3
Health- 633-0.11%
Sport- 26948 -4.68%
Holidays/leisure – 27294-4.74%
Others- 25336-4.4

The data as released also depicts an interesting mix of the source markets with the Ecowas region making up two-thirds of its market, but Lebanon made significant trips to Cote d’Ivoire with 2879 making 0.5% of the market share.

The Chinese market continues to be another segment which has shown enormous potential with 9962 making 1.73 of the international tourist arrivals. Below is a breakdown of the source markets which constituted the 2021 arrivals to Cote d’ivoire.

International Source markets
Ecowas- 434282.3 // 75.42%
Other African – 63225 // 10.98%
Lebanon – 2879-0.5
China – 9962-1.73
Other Asian markets – 21190-3,68
USA- 4146-0.72
Other Americas -1267-0.22
France 1831-3.18
Germany 345-0.06
Italy -633-0.11
UK- 345-0.06
Other European-16,987-2.95

The 2021 international arrivals into cote d’Ivoire translated into a spend of 689.98 billion CFA increasing by 50.65% from the 2020 spend of 458 billion CFA.

This and other developments taking place in cote d’Ivoire’s tourism sector is seen as the right omen to kickstart the restart revival of an industry which affects a significant part of its population.


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