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Sunday 7 January 2024

Tourism to South Africa bouncing back in style

International tourist arrivals to South Africa are booming - and are close to returning to pre-Covid numbers.

International tourist arrivals from January to November 2023 totalled 7.6 million, representing a remarkable 51.8% increase when compared with same period in 2022.

While recovery towards pre-Covid-19 numbers is encouraging, this performance remains 17.6% lower compared to the same period in 2019.

South African Tourism reports: "South Africa remains an attractive destination, for both domestic and international travellers. The numbers show that the tourism sector is successfully driving travel to South Africa while shaping cultural exchanges and contributing to inclusive economic growth."

Arrivals from other countries in Africa numbered 5.8 million visitors, a significant 75.5% of all arrivals.

“I am so pleased by these numbers from the rest of the African continent," says Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille.

With 1.1 million tourist arrivals, Europe contributed to 14.6% of the total arrivals during the first eleven months of 2023.

This marks a 43.2% increase when compared to the same period last year. The UK remains the top European source market ahead of Germany.

“Europe continues to show strong growth and recovery when compared to the same period in 2022. Notably, the Netherlands has achieved 90% of 2019 arrivals, solidifying their position as the fourth largest international market behind the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Germany," says de Lille.

"This recovery can be attributed to consistent efforts to showcase South Africa as a welcoming, responsible tourism destination, highlighting experiences that align with intrepid, green economy conscious travellers.

“It is evident that our country remains attractive and that more can be unlocked with more policy and regulation revisions. I am committed to working with all partners and government colleagues to unlock barriers such as visa regulations, safety concerns and limited air access and air lift, so that we can grow our sector and meaningfully contribute to our country’s economy."

Images: Table Mountain, Cape Town (top), Soweto (middle)

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