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SA tourism shows signs of recovery

Pretoria - South Africa’s tourism industry is showing signs of a recovery and the long-awaited dividend from the 2010 Fifa World Cup may now be starting to show itself, says a leading expert.

Dr Salifou Siddo, chief executive of the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP), said the industry was starting to emerge from the impact of the world economic recession over the last couple of years.

Six hundred and forty disgruntled travellers who had scored the bargain of a lifetime - to fly SAA business class from Joburg to Abu Dhabi return for only R899 - have to put their luggage away because the airline says the hot deal was a big mistake. File photo: Leon Nicholas. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Speaking at the release of the TEP annual report in Joburg, he noted that President Jacob Zuma announced in April this year that visitors to the country had increased by 10.2 percent in 2012 – 9.2 million international tourists compared to the 8.3 million tourists who travelled to our country in 2011.

This is more than double the growth rate of 4 percent as estimated by the UN World Tourism Organisation, he said.

Most strikingly, the TEP – which provides enterprise development support to small tourism businesses – has recorded a massive increase in turnover in small businesses who make use of its services.

Siddo said that TEP budgeted for a turnover in 2012/2013 of R285 million in these enterprises, but had been “stunned and excited” by the final figure of R775m.

This dramatic increase was due, he said, to the effectiveness of TEP support, but also to the fact that these businesses had “benefited from the substantial increase in international tourism arrivals”.

Siddo noted that there were a number of other encouraging signs of a tourism revival, and especially in the results of JSE-listed groups like City Lodge and Tsogo Sun, which confirmed business has picked up significantly.

In a message, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said now was the time to capitalise on this growth and ensure it continued. - Pretoria News

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