South African Tourism released stats this week that revealed a growth in domestic tourism between January to April 2019. Picture: Pixabay/Manie Van der Hoven.

The other day my friend suggested I watch a video that a travel blogger posted on social media. The video showcased some of South Africa’s diverse beauty- and if you have not already been here, you would have been enticed to book your trip to our country. 

Another friend thought differently. She asked why people would choose to visit South Africa when there were other iconic sights across the globe. 

That comment irked me, knowing that South Africans like my friend would think twice about local travel because they believe there are better places out there. Having been to a few countries, I can safely say that there is no place like home. 

South Africa is one of the most wondrous places I have travelled - from the stunning shores of Cape Town, the historic Mpumalanga to my home province of KwaZulu-Natal that offers everything from beach, bush and adventure. 

While there are many who would gladly swap a local holiday for an exotic destination abroad, there are others who love exploring South Africa. 

South African Tourism (SAT) released stats this week that revealed a growth in domestic tourism between January to April compared to last year’s figures. 

According to SAT, domestic holiday trips rose by 59,7 %, and overall local trips grew by 11% from January to April 2019. 

SAT’s acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, says from January to March 2019, 18.4% of South Africans did not have a reason to travel, which she believes is an improvement from 20.5% in 2018. 

While in a bid to increase local travel, SAT  intends to also lure in international travellers. They will look at seven markets as their focus this year, namely the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, Australia and Nigeria. 

“We have analysed the current international travel environment and are putting measures in place to support the growth of the local tourism industry. We are working closely with the private sector to show confidence to the world that South Africa is indeed a memorable destination,” she tells IOL Travel. 

SAT will continue to fulfill their target set in their 5-in-5 strategy, which aims to attract a further 4 million international tourist arrivals and a further one million domestic holiday trips by 2021. 

In addition to this, they will work towards doubling the number of tourist arrivals to 21 million, as stated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address last week. 

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