New data reveals South African tourism continues to rise despite pandemic economy

Picture:Instagram/City sightseeing

Picture:Instagram/City sightseeing

Published Aug 23, 2023


As we step into the magical realm of Tourism Month in September, we are greeted with a resounding affirmation that South Africa continues to reign as a beloved destination for global wanderers in search of extraordinary experiences.

With vibrant cities and a rich tapestry of cultures, South Africa offers an enticing blend of thrilling escapades and immersive encounters that leave a lasting impression on the soul.

After enduring the challenging times brought about by the pandemic, South Africa's tourism and hospitality sector now shines with renewed vigour.

Furthermore, South Africa has witnessed an increase in visitors from various parts of the world. The Australasia region has seen a significant rise, with visitor numbers soaring from 21,108 to 50,882 during this period.

Asia has nearly doubled its figures, from 47,912 to 95,596 visitors. North America, Central and South America, and the Middle East also show robust growth, with growth rates of 70.6%, 74.4%, and 75.8%, respectively.

Inge Dykman, National Marketing Manager for City Sightseeing, calls attention to the increase in international visitors from the Middle East, China, and the USA during the first half of 2023, reflecting the sector's optimism for the upcoming Spring and Summer seasons in South Africa.

City Sightseeing, a privately owned tourism business, serves a mix of 50% local and 50% international visitors, showcasing South Africa as a strong contender for international travellers.

The domestic air traffic for June 2023 has risen by 27.2% compared to the same period in 2022 and is 5.1% above the pre-pandemic results of June 2019.

Domestic demand has increased by 33.3% in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year. Additionally, international air traffic has grown by 33.7% compared to June 2022, claimed Dykman.

These statistics paint a promising picture for South Africa's tourism industry, with both domestic and international travel showing significant growth and indicating a positive trajectory for the sector.

“We continue to experience a growing interest with visitors from all over the world eagerly looking to learn about what South Africa has to offer, servicing over 1000 guests a day during peak season,” said Dykman.

The substantial increase in tourism has resulted in City Sightseeing having to increase resources across all its business units and forward bookings from agents, the tourism sector, and private rentals for corporates, have exceeded all expectations.

This has resulted in the business extending its hours and increasing capacity for the upcoming peak season, with additional vehicles and team staff members added to the roster.

“We expect to see an even bigger increase in visitors in the second half of the year and have already exceeded our pre-pandemic 2019 numbers in July 2023. Tourism is back and booming ahead of the upcoming festive season,” said Dykman.

Children aged 4 -17 can enjoy sightseeing bus tours for only R49, saving over R100 per person. Kids under four can travel for free. With the purchase of an adult ticket for R275, up to two kids can travel for only R49 each.

The tours offer convenient hop-on and hop-off options, with over 30 stops in Cape Town and multiple stops in Johannesburg.

On-board commentary is available in 15 languages, including a kid's channel. The offer is valid until September 29, 2023.

To book your City Sightseeing Tour, visit: