Tourism boosts economy as millions of tourists visit SA

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic that decimated the tourism industry, the latest data published by Stats SA reveals that the industry has made a remarkable recovery, welcoming more than four million tourists in the first half of this year – a major boost to the economy.

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille attributes the healthy surge in tourism to marketing efforts targeting tourists from the African continent.

De Lille said: “This is testament to the marketing efforts that we have implemented to attract tourists from the African region. Africa remains a key source market for us, and we are committed to collaborating as the tourism sector to make sure we welcome visitors from this region and that we cater for their needs and preferences.

“We are eager to welcome more tourists as we head into the busy summer season.”

She added many people from around the world still believe that South Africa is a destination of choice.

“In the first half of this year, South Africans took 18.8 million domestic overnight trips, up 23.4% when compared to the same period in 2022. Overnight spend was also up by 21.2% to reach R52.2-billion during this period.

“Spend from international arrivals was R48-billion for the period January to June 2023. This is a notable increase from the foreign arrivals spend for January to June 2022 of R21.5-billion” said De Lille.

This also demonstrates that the tourism industry is playing a major role towards changing the fortunes of the country as many jobs are created in the hospitality sector, which includes lodging, food and beverage services, event planning, theme parks, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants and bars.

With a 78.2% surge in tourism between January and June, many businesses in hospitality thrived and many jobs were created, while the economy increased.

“These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa.”

Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (Exsa) general manager Lee-Ann Alder said the tourism industry is doing a lot for her association.

“Many of the exhibitors are international and make use of South African suppliers. Our members thrive from having tourists in South Africa. Our exhibitions attract tourists and that is why tourism has increased so much since the re-emergence of the industry.

“Exsa and SA Tourism must work together to ensure we have the same goals. We are pursuing a memorandum of understanding with SA Tourism, sharing a common goal and vision,” said Alder.

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