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WTTC revealed why South Africa is the largest tourism economy on the continent

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Tourism in South Africa contributed 1.5 million jobs and ZAR425.8 billion to the economy in 2018, making it the largest tourism economy in Africa, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector released today.

WTTC, has compared the Travel & Tourism sector across 185 countries. The 2018 research shows that the South Africa Travel & Tourism sector:

  • Contributed ZAR425.8 billion to the country’s economy – the largest of any country in Africa. This represents 8.6% of all economic activity in South Africa
  • Generated 1.5 million jobs, or 9.2% of total employment
  • Was primarily driven by leisure travelers: 64% of the travel economy was generated by leisure visitors and 36% from business travelers
  • Is roughly balanced between international and domestic travel: 44% of the tourism spend came from international travelers and 56% from domestic travel

Commenting on the numbers, Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO said: “Travel & Tourism contributes more to the South Africa economy than in any other African country. In total our sector contributes ZAR425.8 billion and 1.5 million jobs which makes it a formidable part of the economy.

“South Africa has long grasped the potential of Travel & Tourism to drive economic growth, create jobs and promote social development and I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Minister of Tourism, H.E. Derek Hanekom. That is why we welcome President Ramaphosa’s ambition to double the number of people directly employed in T&T in South Africa. 

“Looking to the future, I believe that Travel & Tourism is South Africa’s greatest resource and the country’s strategy for expansion which priorities regional integration, environment sustainability and putting the community at the heart of decisions will make for a successful combination.”