President Zuma has congratulated the tourism sector on the impressive tourism figures which indicate that South Africa continues to be an attractive international tourism destination.
Tourism is one of the country’s six job drivers in terms of the New Growth Path, the economic strategy within the umbrella of the National Development Plan.
Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has announced that the months from January until October 2012 showed an increase of 10.4%, with 7,535,498 tourist arrivals compared to 6,823,517 tourist arrivals for the same period in the previous year. A total of 204,247 tourists from Germany visited South Africa from January to October 2012. This represents an increase of 12.2% compared to the corresponding period in 2011. Germany is one of the key traditional overseas markets for travel to South Africa, with the United States of America and the United Kingdom taking the lead.
“We are pleased to see that the considerable investment by government and the private sector in the tourism industry and our continued targeted marketing around the world [is] beginning to pay off. We congratulate the tourism sectors on this achievement. We want to make a huge success of the BRICS summit in Durban this month, as this is also an enormous marketing opportunity for the republic. We urge our tour operators and South Africans in general to use this opportunity to market the country further as part of boosting the economy and creating jobs,” said President Zuma.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) indicates that global tourism growth was 4% in 2012 which means that South African tourism grew above the global rate of tourism growth.
Encouragingly, growth from emerging markets are especially impressive, with Asian tourist arrivals having grown 36.9% up to the end of September 2012, driven by growth of 63.5% from China and 18.3% from India. Regional African tourist arrivals are also tracking extremely well, growing by 8.7% overall, with 25.5% growth from Angola and 17.9% growth from Nigeria notable highlights.
Foreign direct spend from international tourists between January and September 2012 was R53.4 billion.
The South African Reserve Bank reported that travel receipts increased again in the second quarter of 2012, rising by R5 billion to R83.5 billion. This is an all-time record high, and now far exceeds the level of travel receipts recorded at the time of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
The Reserve Bank further reported that “spending by non-resident visitors in South Africa rose for the fifth consecutive quarter in the 2nd quarter of 2012, assisting in the containment of the overall deficit on the services account.”
For the next 5 years, South Africa has already secured over 200 international conferences, which are estimated to attract about 300,000 delegates and provide an economic boost of more than R1.6 billion for the economy. In 2011, according to a departure survey, South Africa received 392,000 business travelers, of whom 140,000 were pure meetings, incentive, conference, and events (MICE) delegates.