Outstanding tourism performance for South Africa

Outstanding tourism performance for South Africa

South African Tourism has released positive figures revealing strong growth in the tourism industry.

In the first half of 2016, South Africa enjoyed significant increases in the money foreign tourists spent while visiting the country, in the numbers of nights they spent and in the number of provinces they visited. Overall, estimated total tourist foreign direct spend increased by 24.8 percent to R39bn between January and June 2016, when compared to the same period in 2015.

  • As the most visited province, Gauteng is a firm favourite for foreign tourists with more than two million tourist visiting the province, spending a total of 17.6 million bed-nights and generating an estimated R17.9bn in revenue during this period.
  • Western Cape is the second most visited province with close to 800 000 tourists visiting the province and spending 8.2 million bed-nights during the same period.

This follows SAT’s announcement last month that a total of five million tourists arrived in South Africa between January and June this year, compared to 4.3 million tourists during the same period last year. This growth reflects the recovery from 2015 tourist declines, with arrivals returning to positive growth across all regions.

The fastest growing region was Asia (40.7 percent) and Australasia (10.8 percent), followed by the Americas (17.5 percent), then Europe region at 14.5 percent, and then Africa markets (including SADC region) at 14.5 percent.

Chief Executive Officer of SAT, Sisa Ntshona is impressed with this growth and is determined to see the numbers continue to rise. “There is no doubt that tourism drives local communities and makes a substantial contribution to businesses in each region where our tourists travel and to the South African economy as a whole. A lot of our efforts have gone into partnering with various members of the trade, promoting and showcasing what South Africa has to offer. I am pleased to see this paying off.”

“We are experiencing positive growth in all regions. With an increase in arrivals in seven out of nine provinces, we are encouraged that the work we are doing to promote South Africa as a value-for-money destination with variety is yielding positive results,” continues Ntshona.

“Overall, we are happy. South Africa’s year-on-year growth is ahead of competitors Australia and Thailand, particularly outgrowing these competitors in Asia, Australasia and Europe. We will use this as a driving force by continuing to bolster our marketing efforts, so that South Africa remains the top-of-mind destination choice for tourist,” adds Ntshona

Domestic tourism numbers are also impressive. Between January and June 2016, South Africans made 12.7 million domestic trips which is an increase of 23 percent when compared to last year. They spent R15.3bn compared to last year’s spend of R9.1bn in the same period. About 25 percent of this expenditure was on holiday trips, which accounted for 10 percent of the total number of trips.

“A lot of work has gone into encouraging South Africans to get to know and travel their own country. These figures show that they heeded the call. This is significant because the more we know our own country, the better hosts we can be to visitors from other countries,” concludes Ntshona.

Source: South African Tourism. Image: Pixabay



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Bewitched by the magic of France, Melissa Jane Cook is an intrepid explorer. A lover of traversing the globe, she eagerly absorbs different cultures and laps up the magnificent oceanic experiences. Wooed by words and writers alike, her penchant for facials, chocolate, owls and bugs, is surpassed only by her fascination with the stage aglow in lights or bookshelves that heave with stories, where characters invite her along on their marvellous journeys.