Economic crunch knocks domestic tourism

Monday, September 4, 2017

Statistician General Pali Lehohla on Monday released the Domestic Tourism Survey 2016 report, which shows a dip in domestic tourism over the past two years.

According to the report, the total number of day trips decreased from 44.3 million in 2015 to 39.4 million in 2016. Addressing the media in Tshwane, Lehohla said the global economic crunch has contributed to the reduction of domestic tourism.

Overnight trips decreased from 45.4 million in 2015 to 43 million in 2016. However, the actual total expenditure on domestic overnight trips increased from R62 billion in 2015 to R63 billion in 2016.

Lehohla said a different pattern was seen in day trips, with a decrease in expenditure from R25 billion in 2015 to R23 billion in 2016.

“This increase in expenditure between 2015 and 2016 in overnight trips was largely driven by increased spending in the higher living standard measure subgroup, as individuals and households from the lower living standard measure groupings were significantly less likely to travel in 2016 than in 2015,” Lehohla said.

The report showed that the biggest spending during day and overnight trips was on domestic transport, shopping, food and beverages. Most of the money spent during the most recent day trips was spent in Gauteng, whereas most overnight expenditure occurred in KwaZulu-Natal.

The report mention Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape as the most popular destinations for day travellers.

“Most tourists undertook overnight trips mainly to visit friends and relatives and preferred using taxis. Most tourists used unpaid accommodation and stayed with friends and relatives.

“Of all the overnight trips undertaken, more than 80% lasted an average of one week at their destination,” Lehohla said.

Day trips were largely undertaken for shopping, followed by visiting friends and relatives.

Tourists undertook overnight trips mostly for leisure, attending funerals and visiting friends and relatives.

Earlier this year, the Department of Tourism reported that the number of tourists arriving in South Africa every month has shot through the one million mark for the first time since 2009.

The department said this is a positive signal that the industry is recovering from last year’s decline. In January this year, 1 012 641 tourists arrived in South Africa, 15.4% more than January last year. Month-to-month growth in arrivals began improving prospects for the sector in October last year. – 

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