South African Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu revealed that the South African tourism sector is poised for a tremendous bounce-back and positive growth after the first half of the year 2022.
According to her stats, figures show a staggering 147% in arrivals reaching an impressive 2 285 746.
The minister was speaking at a media briefing on domestic and international tourism performance for January to June 2022 in Joburg.
“We are particularly pleased that the arrivals from the Americas increased by 331% and represented 128 991 arrivals,” said Sisulu.
The minister said Europe remained SA’s key overseas market, despite external shocks such as the war in Ukraine in that it had the most considerable percentage increase in arrivals at 563%.
She also highlighted that the African land market was the country’s bread and butter as it showed impressive growth, dwarfing the Europe and Americas arrivals numbers by bringing in 1 634 244 arrivals.
Tourism stats also revealed that 15.2 million domestic trips were taken between January and June 2022. The minister described this as a major win for the tourism sector as this was higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Sisulu said these numbers indicated that South Africa’s domestic tourism sector had also experienced a revenge travel trend.
She said the most heart-warming aspect of the numbers was that the share of holiday trips had increased by 23.8% compared with the same period in 2021, and the average spend had skyrocketed to 28.6%.
The performance report also revealed that South Africans spent R2 850 on their domestic trips while the minister insisted that the biggest driver of domestic travel in the first six months of 2022 was the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Sisulu revealed that the numbers were also picking up quite nicely when it came to global airlift.
“There is a steady increase in global seat capacity – Air capacity is just 61% of the 2019 levels, with Airlink as the largest airline, which has seen fares up 7%,” she said.
The minister also said 75% of seat capacity in South Africa was on Joburg routes and that seat capacity on the routes to Joburg grew 71% over 2021 with Qatar being the largest source route.
She said Cape Town had an impressive 1.2 million seats, with Emirates Airways being the largest route and Durban, King Shaka International Airport, was punching above its weight with a 150% growth from 2021 representing 4% of all seats.
“The Durban routes grew with Emirates seats up over 400% and was the most extensive route in the region,” she added.
The minister also revealed that forward bookings increased by 328% (85 960) in August.
“Between August and October, there was a 287% (187 667) increase. For August to January 2023, there was a 227% (294 220) increase in bookings,” said Sisulu.
The minister closed by saying SA Tourism would continue to intensify targeted communication on its digital platforms to sell South Africa as a destination of choice, inviting the world to come and “live again”.