“It’s really encouraging to see visitors from the continent making South Africa a destination on their travel plans”
“It’s really encouraging to see visitors from the continent making South Africa a destination on their travel plans”

SA Tourism performance steady as the year draws to a close

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Dec 21, 2018

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The latest analysis of South African Tourism’s (SA Tourism) performance in 2018 shows a slight growth during the period January to October when compared with the same period last year.

SA Tourism’s Strategic, Insights and Analytics (SIA) team today released their report for the January to October period and shows an overall increase in growth of 1,7% when compared to the same period in 2017. This amounts to 8,6 million international tourists that have visited South Africa during this reporting period.

African land and air arrivals have been key to the growth with air arrivals from the continent showing a healthy 6,8% rise. Increase in arrivals from Angola (38%), DRC (19,9%) and Ghana (17,8%) has stimulated this growth. From an African land arrivals view, the 2,7% increase in growth can be attributed mainly to increase in arrivals from visitors from Malawi (13,3%) and Zimbabwe (7,7%).

“It’s really encouraging to see visitors from the continent making South Africa a destination on their travel plans,” said South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona.

“The growth is in line with some of the recently implemented visa reforms as well as some regional airlines increasing their flights into South Africa. We look forward to working closer with them through our Tourism Execution team on the continent to drive more visitors to South Africa.”

On the international front, Ntshona acknowledges that there is work to be done.

“We are still recovering from barriers that had affected us in 2017 and the early parts of 2018, but are working extremely hard in addressing these challenges,” explained Ntshona.

“With the visa reforms in place and the unabridged birth certificates issue taken care of, we can now work tirelessly in promoting South Africa as a destination of choice having taken away factors that have previously made people doubt travelling to South Africa.”

Ntshona’s comments are at the back of decline in visitors from Europe which is the second biggest source market. Growth was seen in the Italian and Spanish markets, but declines were recorded for UK, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.

The America’s continue to show growth. North America grew by 1,2%, while South and Central America saw a 9,7% increase in arrivals.

Asian arrivals are also down when compared to the same period in 2017, however the signs from that region are positive with month on month growth from this region since April.

According to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s (TBCSA) CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, “This tourism performance clearly shows that we have a challenge to recover what we have lost from our international source markets. It further shows that we need to urgently deal with issues of visa waivers and communication around traveling with minors.”

The private sector through TBCSA is working with South African Tourism to turnaround non-performing markets. “We look forward to continued partnership with public sector to increase tourist arrivals, stimulating economy, and creating more jobs”, concluded Tshivhengwa.


There was positive news on the Domestic Tourism front. 14,4 Million trip were recorded in this period and this demonstrates a 10,5% increase while holiday trips accounted for 2,2 million, slightly down from last year.

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