Mzansi ‘still has an appetite for travel’
12.9-million South Africans traveled during the first nine months of 2018
South Africans still have an appetite for domestic travel – despite the high fuel price and the first VAT increase in more than two decades, among other financial barriers.
This is according to a report released by SA Tourism on Thursday, stating that domestic tourism enjoyed a substantial upsurge in September 2018.
Trips in and around SA increased 8.5% when compared with the same period in 2017.
The report said 12.9-million South Africans traveled during the first nine months of 2018, with two million holiday trips recorded.
SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said these were encouraging signs for domestic tourism.
“[The] recent statistics show that despite the economic barriers facing South Africans, there is still an appetite for travelling,” Ntshona said.
“We need to work closely with our trade partners in SA to ensure that they continue to ensure competitive and favourable pricing towards local travellers.”
While the signs on the domestic front were positive, there were mixed returns on the international tourism front.
The report says the country saw a decline in the number of visitors from Europe, Australasia and the Middle East when compared with the same time period in 2017.
North America showed slight growth, with an arrivals increase of 1.5% in comparison to the same period in 2017.
And the number of South American visitors to SA grew by 10%. Land arrivals from Africa continued to grow.
They reflected a 3.1% growth when compared with the same period in 2017.
Malawi and Zimbabwe arrivals showed significant growth, SA Tourism said.
This while Africa air arrivals also saw a 7.1% growth, with arrivals from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo leading the way. “SA remains a favourite destination for African travellers and we are excited to see this growth.
“When the new visa reforms get implemented for travellers from the African continent in the near future, I am confident we will see even better growth,” Ntshona said.
“We have recognised and acknowledged that it has been a challenging year for the South African tourism industry.
“But with recent announcements in regards to visa reforms, we could see a turnaround and renewed interest from international travellers wanting to come to South Africa.”
SA recently became the first African country to host the World Travel and Tourism Council Africa Leaders Forum.
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom expressed his gratitude at the event – on Thursday last week in Stellenbosch – for the opportunity given to South Africa to be first host of the forum on African soil.
“The growth of this sector will catalyze job creation,” Hanekom said.
“We require greater active participation of the continent in the work of [the World Travel and Tourism Council].”
“The African continent has huge growth potential if we harness the tourism sector opportunities.”
According to the department, the sector supports about 1.5-million direct and indirect jobs in South Africa ...