Africa’s people are often cited as being one of the best things about the continent. A correspondents for How we made it in Africa says that at least 80% of Western experts and local business leaders interviewed say that the best thing about the African country in which they operate is the people, along with the continent’s breathtaking natural geographical beauty.

Morocco has been ranked as the African country whose population has the best attitude towards foreign tourists. The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 ranked 140 countries according to the attractiveness and competitiveness of their travel and tourism industries, and this year 35 African countries were included in the report. One of the indicators used to determine these rankings looked at how welcome tourists feel in each country. Under the category ‘Attitude of population toward foreign visitors’, 140 nations across the world were rated according to how friendly local people are towards tourists. Three African countries made the top 10 list. In addition, the majority of the African countries made the top half of the global rankings in this category.

As mentioned above, Morocco is the country in Africa that is considered to be the friendliest to its tourists, followed by Senegal and then Burkina Faso. Below is a list of the African countries that made the top 50 in the global rankings.

Top friendliest/welcoming African nations for tourists

Africa Ranking (Country World Ranking)
1 Morocco (3)
2 Senegal (6)
3 Burkina Faso (10)
4 Mali (14)
5 Rwanda (21)
6 Mauritius (28)
7 Seychelles (29)
8 Zambia (34)
9 Sierra Leone (39)
10 Uganda (40)
11 South Africa (42)
12 The Gambia (44)
13 Ghana (46)

Tourism remain one of the largest source of foreign exchange for most African countries, some of which are not on the list above. As such it is important to consider challenges that impede tourism. One such challenge is the cost of transportation. The cost of flights remain very high, ridiculously do. I remember two years ago when I had to fly from Accra to Nairobi, some flights would have had me go to London or Dubai from Accra before returning back to Nairobi. I am grateful for Kenya Airways although the cost was still high.

Another transportation cost that most would overlook is travel whilst touring. The use of public transportation can help cut the cost for tourists. However, public transportation need to improve for that to happen. In Tanzania for example, there are buses such as Dar Express that are fast replacing flights, cutting the travel cost within Tanzania.

Being welcoming is one thing, African countries need to be affordable to most people and the aforementioned challenges is a place to start.