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South Africa’s tourism grows phenomenally

17 May, 2007

Tourism in South Africa is really booming – the country’s growth in tourism was three times the growth of global tourism in 2006.

While tourism grew by 4.5% globally, South Africa’s tourism jumped by 14%, according to Moeketsi Mosola, chief executive officer of South Africa Tourism.

Visitors from other African countries led the tourism growth in South Africa, with an increase of 16.9%. This was followed by visitors from the Americas (an increase of 11.2%), Asia and Australasian visitors (an increase of 9.8%), and European visitors (a rise of 5.6%).

More air routes from various countries are leading to South Africa, Moeketsi Mosola said. This followed the airlift strategy, approved by the Cabinet in July 2006, which supports the national economic growth through greater alignment with the tourism strategy and industry, prioritising tourism and trade markets.

The airlift strategy led to the launching of two extra weekly flights between Johannesburg and Paris – bringing the total number of the weekly flights to 14. There are at present a total of 28 flights a week between Johannesburg and the European hubs of Amsterdam and Paris.

China Eastern Airline has announced its first direct service between China and South Africa.

Moeketsi Mosola said China and India have the potential to deliver exponential growth and that South Africa would make use of it.

In 2006, nearly 4.8 million foreigners visited South Africa, according to Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwayk. This was the highest number of arrivals in South Africa so far, representing a 13.9% increase over the previous year.

In South Africa, the contribution of tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 4.6% in 1993 to 8.3% in 2006. The country is looking to increase tourism’s contribution to the GDP to 12% by 2014, Schalkwayk said.

South Africa is hosting the Soccer World Cup in 2010, which is expected to give an added impetus to the country’s tourism.




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