South Africa is becoming an attractive destination for international travellers.
Stats SA’s Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa report released in 2018 revealed that in 2016 the sector directly contributed 2.9% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). In terms of job creation, it outperformed other key local industries, adding just over 40 000 net new jobs to the economy between 2012 and 2016.
According to Grant Thornton, the tourism sector supports one in every 12 jobs in South Africa and, at a time when job creation and economic development are front of mind for the government and private sector, the tourism industry has been earmarked by the government for high growth.
Air travel is recognised as a key component in driving development in the sector. As the World Tourism Organisation notes, innovation and expansion of the air transport industry have been driving factors for the exponential growth in international tourism arrivals seen over the last few decades.
As recently as April 2019, United Airlines was given the go-ahead to launch their new non-stop route between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, New York, and Cape Town. Australian Qantas airlines is considering Cape Town as a destination on one of the company’s planned new ultra-long commercial flights, set to touch down in 2022.