SA records remarkable increase in tourist arrivals

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cape Town - South Africa has recorded a remarkable 15 percent increase in tourist arrivals to the country in the last year.

Apart from the FIFA World Cup in June and July playing a role in the increase, tourist arrivals were buoyant all year round, instead of being season dependent.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who made the announcement earlier today in Cape Town, said looking ahead, he had "no doubt of further growth this year."

His department said 90 percent of the tourists who came for the World Cup had indicated that they would want to come to South Africa again, as the tournament had created a better image of the country.

New markets such as Brazil, India and China, played a big role in growing the industry, the minister said.

The upcoming South African Airways route from Johannesburg to Beijing would boost the industry, highlighting that opening other routes into the continent would result in an "explosion of tourists," added van Schalkwyk.

Last year, saw eight million tourist arrivals compared to over 7 million in 2009, which fared well with international standards. Figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation showed that global tourism arrivals were estimated to have grown by 6.7 percent in 2010.

This meant that South Africa outperformed the global market by 8 percent.

"From the results of our survey on arrivals during the World Cup, we know that more than 309 000 tourists arrived in South Africa for the primary purpose of the World Cup. The World Cup arrivals therefore represent about 4 percent of the total arrivals for 2010.

"In terms of growth from the regional markets, the Americas grew the fastest at 37.4 percent compared to 2009," van Schalkwyk said.

This was followed by Asia and Australasia, with 34.6 percent, with long haul markets growing fastest in 2010 showing an increase of 21 percent.

Van Schalkwyk said that the "strong growth" of 14 percent from air markets within Africa was "particularly encouraging."

The UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands and France remained top five overseas source markets. In emerging markets, notable growth came from India on 29.7 percent, China with an increase of 62.3 percent, Brazil with a growth of 66.7 percent.

"These figures provide a solid base on which we can build in term of our growth targets for emerging markets. From a tourism perspective, we stand to gain tremendously from our recent inclusion in the BRIC partnership, and we are aligning our planning and strategies accordingly," said the minister. - BuaNews