South Africa’s tourism sector continues to show strong recovery with the first half of 2023 recording more than four million tourist arrivals.
“Our arrival numbers for 2023 are looking good, demonstrating that South Africa is still a favourable tourist destination and we are eager to welcome more tourists as we head into the busy summer season,” said Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille.
She said the arrivals demonstrate that South Africa is still a favourable tourist destination.
“South Africa’s tourism sector continues to exhibit strong recovery with the first half of 2023 recording more than 4 million tourist arrivals, according to the latest data from Statistics South Africa [Stats SA]. This is a significant increase from the 2, 3 million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.
The total number of tourist arrivals to South Africa between January and June 2023 showed a sizable 78.2% surge in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.
The Minister on Tuesday held the second National Tourism Safety Forum meeting in Cape Town with various stakeholders in the tourism sector.
De Lille said South Africa receives millions of tourists per year, and the vast majority of visitors return home without any issues and a memorable experience of the country.
The Africa region continues to bring the largest share of tourist arrivals to South Africa with more than three million arrivals from the rest of the African continent in the first six months of 2023.
“This is a testament to the marketing efforts that we have implemented to attract tourists from this region. Africa remains a key source market for us, and we are committed to collaborating as a tourism sector to make sure we welcome visitors from this region and that we cater for their needs and preferences.
Beyond the African continent, South Africa has welcomed more visitors from other regions too. The Asia region almost doubled its figures with a 99.5% growth compared to 2022.
“This year, Europe, the largest source of visitors outside Africa, also experienced solid growth of 66.8.1%, when compared to the same period in 2022. These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination of choice.”
North America, Central & South America, and the Middle East also demonstrated strong growth trends with rates of 70.6%, 74.4%, and 75.8% respectively.
“These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination of choice.”
Meanwhile, the department is gearing up for the summer season and will be launching the Summer Campaign in two weeks’ time in the Eastern Cape.
She said the previous meeting of the forum held in May saw all representatives agreed on clear actions to address tourism safety.
”While the latest statistics from StatsSA reveal an upward trend in tourist arrivals, issues of safety are an obstacle in converting would-be tourists to visit our country. As I said after the previous National Tourism Safety Forum meeting, crime is a matter which affects tourism in many parts of the world.”
This was echoed by several tourism ministers from all over the world.
“South Africa is no different and across the world, countries are grappling with these issues with instability and wars in some countries. While it is the mandate of the SAPS to keep our citizens and visitors safe, we all have a role to play.”
She said progress was made since the last meeting.
In a bid to ensure the safety of tourists in the country, the Department of Tourism will be deploying tourism monitors to all provinces at top tourist attractions and national parks.
The key responsibilities of the appointed tourism monitors include patrolling within the identified attractions and site/ areas, raising tourism awareness and provide information to tourists and report any crime incidents to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other relevant enforcement agencies.
The monitors will be deployed towards the end of October or early November 2023, in time for the summer tourist season.
The department has reviewed the training curriculum for tourism monitors with the departmental budget at R174.5 million, to train more than 2 200 tourism monitors across the country for this financial year.
The key responsibilities of the appointed Tourism Monitors include patrolling within the identified attractions and site/ areas, raising tourism awareness and provide information to tourists and report any crime incidents to SAPS and other relevant enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, an update from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the C-More tracking device and how best this technology can be incorporated into the Secura app that has been set up by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, was received.
“Through the use of technology, we are enhancing the tourist experience by offering technology and tourism monitors that assist tourists in various attractions as well as on-demand requests through an app.”
She said the app is now up and running and the operations centre will be launched in Sandton on Thursday.
“The Secura App is already being used by tourists and aims to enhance the visitor experience and assist in many ways including roadside assistance and directing those who are lost,” said the Minister. –SAnews.gov.za