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Africa to Generate $100 Billion in Marine Tourism Revenue by 2030



Africa, possessing around one-third of the planet’s significant international water basins, finds itself on the verge of a significant economic prospect.

The marine and coastal tourism industry of the continent has the capability to yield over $100 billion in income by the year 2030.

This is according to a comprehensive study recently published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as seen by ThePressNG.

The study, conducted with a focus on Africa’s private sector reinforcing its green agenda, unearths the often-overlooked opportunities that lie within the realm of coastal tourism. 

The marine and coastal tourism sector not only represents a substantial economic opportunity for Africa but also carries the promise of sustainable development.

The African landscape presents a diverse range of eco-tourism opportunities, spanning from wildlife safaris and conservation-oriented tourism to sustainable agriculture and culinary experiences, all capitalizing on the continent’s rich wildlife heritage. 

Here is a short excerpt from the study on the potential of the blue economy and ecotourism. 


  • Africa’s vast coastline offers lucrative prospects in the blue economy, generating $296 billion and 49 million jobs in 2018, and projections indicate $576 billion and 127 million jobs by 2063, about 5% of Africa’s active population.
  • “Marine and coastal tourism, worth $80 billion, surpasses the global average and strategic investments could yield $100 billion and employ 28 million people by 2030.   


  •  Despite the growth potential, the African Blue Economy faces sustainability concerns, such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, leading to an estimated $10 billion loss in catch annually.   

However, amidst these promising growth prospects, the African Blue Economy faces sustainability challenges, including issues like illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, contributing to an estimated annual loss of $10 billion in catch. 


Coastal tourism encompasses an array of land-based activities such as swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, while maritime tourism pertains to sea-based pursuits like boating, yachting, and cruising. 


Elizabeth Mrema, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, provides recommendations for businesses to adopt a holistic approach that encompasses profit, people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships. 


  •  “This report shows that policymakers can create an enabling environment for investments that address the triple planetary crisis by adopting robust regulatory frameworks, investing in research, innovation, and education, as well as promoting public-private partnerships and fostering collaboration across governments, businesses and local communities.”  
  • The report showcases a range of success stories of green ventures today, as well as data on the potential for growth across sectors, she said. 

 Coastal and marine tourism account for at least 50% of total global tourism, making it a pivotal economic sector for numerous small islands developing states and several coastal nations.