According to data from global flight and travel search platform, Cheapflights, South Africa can expect a 100% increase in foreign tourists arriving on its shores compared to last year, as well as a huge amount of domestic travel within the country as locals go on holiday, or make their way home to see families.
Despite the challenging economic conditions this year, our data shows that South Africans are keener than ever to travel, and overseas tourists are still flocking here, where the Rand still offers good bang for their buck.
The country continues to be a destination of choice for Brits, who make up the most searches for travel to South Africa over this time, increasing 47% compared to last year.
Travellers from other European countries also love S.A, with the largest portion of searches coming from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and other countries experiencing chilly winters.
Searches from travellers in Germany have grown 187% compared to last year and an impressive 226% from Swiss tourists, compared to the same period in 2015.
Xmas at the seaside
Cape Town will be the busiest destination, with 43% of domestic travelers and 48% of foreign visitors searching for flights to the Mother City, followed followed by Johannesburg and Durban.
Best and Worst time to travel
The airports will be jam-packed this weekend as many South Africans start their holidays with the Public Holiday on Friday. Based on the number of flights searched for, there will be a second big surge just before Christmas, as travellers head home after the last working day before Christmas, Friday 23 December (with more than double the amount of flights searched for, compared to the previous day).
Data shows that the cheapest days to travel between now and the end of the year are 21 and 31 December.
South Africans are travelling overseas
South Africans are travelling overseas in their droves, with London ranking third overall as most popular destination for travel over the Christmas season (after domestic destinations, Cape Town and Durban).
The second most popular destinations for South Africans is Bangkok.
Tips for travelling on Xmas Day
It may not seem like the most cheerful way to spend Christmas, but there are some benefits for booking travel on Christmas Day itself. Because it’s one of the least popular days to travel over the festive season, the airports are often empty (meaning less queues at security and immigration) and great deals can often be found.
Airports are also a great place to do some last minute Christmas shopping – with most airports having a great selections of shops.