Tourist arrivals continue to grow

6 September 2010

Foreign visitors to South Africa increased by more than 350 000 in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2009, says Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Tourism Month last week, Van Schalkwyk said that from January to April this year, foreign arrivals totalled more than 2.5-million, compared to approximately 2.2-million in 2009, representing a growth of 16.3 percent.

“Our foreign arrivals continue to reflect the consistent growth of our tourism industry, and I have no doubt that 2010 is going to be a very successful year,” he said.

Domestic tourism

“We have always understood, however, that the backbone of any tourism industry is its domestic market. We will continue to promote the richness of our destination to South African travellers, and during Tourism Month we have a particular focus on showcasing our local tourism offerings,” he said.

Approximately 14.6-million adult South Africans undertook about 30-million domestic trips in 2009, with a total annual spend of more than R22-billion. In 2009, 75 percent of all tourist volume in South Africa was derived from domestic tourists, making it by far the biggest segment of the industry.

Van Schalkwyk said the figures were also less volatile than foreign tourism and offered the industry and the country’s economy a steady income stream.

“South African Tourism’s Sho’t Left campaign is specifically aimed at making travelling more accessible and affordable for all South Africans. Over the last six years we have invested approximately R70-million … underlining the fact that we are serious about strengthening domestic tourism as the foundation of our industry.”

South Africa will also commemorate World Tourism Day on 27 September, this year’s theme being “Tourism and Biodiversity”.

“In South Africa, the majority of our tourism offerings are rich in biodiversity,” said South African Tourism CEO Thandiwe January Maclean.” It is important for each and every South African to preserve this in order to ensure that we have a sustainable tourism offering.”

Source: BuaNews