SA travel fate - the arrival stats look promising
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South Africa is one of the countries hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The South African Tourism (SAT) Insights and Analytics team revealed that South Africa received 2 802 320 arrivals in 2020, 87% of which arrived between January to March 2020.
Of these arrivals, 2 054 604 were from the continent and arrived through South Africa’s land borders, and around 82 920 from the continent arrived through the air borders.
Findings also showed that during January and February 2021, the second-biggest source region was Europe, followed by the Africa air markets.
SAT also revealed that the top countries, with the most arrivals into South Africa for the 2020 period, were Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini and Botswana.
Zimbabwe accounted for more than 684 546 arrivals, Lesotho 448 745, Mozambique 422 537, eSwatini 214 947, and Botswana contributed towards 129 467.
It also showed that the continent was still the main source of arrivals into South Africa between January and February 2021.
Zimbabwe remained the main source, with 59 268 arrivals, Mozambique 50 177, and Lesotho accounting for 40 116 arrivals.
The United Kingdom, Germany and the USA were the main contributors to international arrivals for 2020, January and February 2021.
The three markets accounted for 310 435 arrivals over 2020, and 8 665 in January and February 2021.
While the figures may not be as high as it was pre-Covid-19, it does show that South Africa hasn't lost its magic touch and that travellers still wanted to visit.
South African Tourism’s chief executive Sisa Ntshona said the country is optimistic with the figures, particularly the October to December 2020 arrivals.
South Africa reopened its international borders in October 2020.
"One can see a growing increase of travellers from the continent, which is in line with our recovery strategy forecasts, with regards to a recovery that is led by domestic and regional travel.
“We will continue with the efforts to reignite tourism, both on the continent and within the key international sources markets," he said.
The country is hoping that it would attract international arrivals soon.
"Many of South Africa’s key source markets, such as the USA and the UK, have, at intervals, placed South Africa on their red lists, while others have imposed travel advisories against South Africa.
“As a result, this dissuades travellers from these countries from visiting South Africa, as they will likely be subjected to mandatory quarantine when they return to their home countries," added Ntshona.