East Meets South Africa


South Africa has much to offer the traveller or tourist and as Asia is acknowledged as having some of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world, Africa and South Africa have to capitalise on this knowledge and ensure that their travel plans include a trip to the continent.

The purchasing power of Asians continues to increase, thus opening up travel to more people. Even though the economic growth in China has slowed down to some degree, outbound travel continues to be extremely popular. Generally Asian markets tend to be interested in sightseeing in areas of scenic and natural beauty, as well as shopping, food and wine, and safaris. This said, South Africa’s inbound arrivals from key Asian source markets have been in a state of steady decline over the course of the past year, with the biggest detractors being confusion over visa regulations and security issues. When compared to 2013, 2014 showed disappointing figures in Asian arrivals to South Africa’s prime holiday destination of the Western Cape:

China – 31.2% decline

South Korea – 26,5% decline

What South African Tourism Offers

For Japanese travellers: The average length of stay in southern Africa is between six to eight days, with the most popular destinations being South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique. South Africa’s peak season for Japanese travellers is from August to October, when the jacarandas in bloom in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Pilgrim’s Rest, and the Namaqualand daisies are very popular in late August.

For Chinese travellers: The most popular destinations are South Africa, Kenya and Mauritius, with the most common length of stay being five nights; however, many Chinese travellers book vacations for up to 11 nights. They tend to travel abroad during January or February (over the Chinese New Year), during the Chinese schools’ summer vacation period (July and August), as well as in October during the National Day holiday.

The Financial Divide

The Asian tourism market to southern Africa can be divided into two main segments: a mainstream group, which is extremely price sensitive and usually only stay in four- and five-star hotels, and compare packages based on price. They usually spend three nights in Cape Town, one or two nights in Johannesburg and a night at Sun City. On the other end of the scale, southern Africa also attracts high-end travellers from the Asian markets, such as Japan’s active seniors, who tend to be well travelled, with disposable income and lots of spare time on their hands.

Compiled By: Melissa Jane Cook




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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.