Pretoria News

Stats show bulk of SA’S visitors are coming from Africa


TOURISM Minister Patricia de Lille recently delivered tourism statistics at the Africa Travel Indaba 2023, held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

The data was sourced from the Department of Home Affairs, which collects information from all ports of entry on a monthly basis, and then refined in line with international standards and classifications by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The minister said South Africa is back on track and as the world re-awakens, tourists are flocking back to South Africa.

“The pandemic undoubtedly left a dent in the tourism industry, but we’re back, stronger than ever, and geared to catapult our inbound tourism numbers beyond pre-covid levels,” De Lille said.

She said 2022 heralded a resurgence, with nearly 5.8 million people visiting the country’s shores and 4 million of those from neighbours around the continent.

“This stunning 152.6% increase from 2021 is just the beginning. We’re not quite at the 10 million arrivals of 2019, but rest assured, our tireless collaboration with the private sector and Africa will take us there and beyond.”

According to De Lille, the stats for the first quarter (Q1), January to March 2023, revealed that when it comes to international arrivals to South Africa, there were an impressive 2.1 million visitors, which is a 102.5% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

Despite the number being 21.5% lower than 2019 levels, the minister said South Africa is gaining ground. Africa led the way again with 1.6 million arrivals, followed by Europe’s 387 000 and the US at 104 000 visitors.

The minister said from a domestic perspective, they have seen an “incredible resilience” with Q1 2023 performance surpassing pre-pandemic levels and those of Q1 2022.

De Lille said foreign direct spend soared to an astounding R25.3 billion in the first quarter of 2023, a 143.9% increase compared to Q1 of 2022.

She said tourists from Europe contributed the most spend of R10.8bn, followed by Africa with R9.3bn.

“We witnessed remarkable growth in spending from our Zimbabwean and Mozambican visitors, with Q1 2023 figures reaching R4.4bn (50% above 2019 performance) and R1.1bn (12% above 2019 performance) respectively. However, spending from UK visitors dipped by 27% to R3.2bn, while visitors from the US contributed a robust R2.6bn, surging 28% above 2019 performance,” the minister said.

According to De Lille, significant drivers of these figures are the lifting of travel restrictions and affordability. She said South Africa’s tourism industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth, outshining other popular destinations like China, France, Italy and Brazil.

“We must market ourselves more aggressively and exploit all avenues.”





African News Agency