In a first for both South Africa and the continent, the African Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AAVEA) released the highly-anticipated results of its inaugural attractions benchmark survey at its AAVEA 2021 Virtual Conference this week.
The attractions benchmark survey results, researched and analysed in the second quarter of 2021 were unpacked by Sabine Lehmann, the executive director of AAVEA.
The research was compiled using data collected for 2019 and 2020.
The research found that South African attractions received a total of 11.7 million visitors in 2019.
In the same year, the domestic market was the largest single source of visitors for attractions and experiences, with 61% of visitations being domestic visitors.
Sadly, 20% of full time jobs were lost at attractions between 2019 and 2020, and the majority of attractions (66%) were closed for the equivalent of half a year or more in 2020.
Around 27% say the attractions industry has changed fundamentally, and 'we won't see those numbers again.'
AAVEA partnered with South African Tourism (SAT), the marketing agency for the Department of Tourism, in 2020.
“If we wish to advocate for our sector within the tourism economy, then having data available to prove our importance in the industry is vital. Never has the role of the attractions and experience industry been more important than in the year when we lost international tourist arrivals," said Lehmann.
She said economy, visitor attractions and experiences were instrumental drivers of leaving home for a fun day out for domestic travellers.
"We wish this to be the first of an annual attractions and experience survey which will eventually be extended to attractions and experiences in Africa," she said.