More tourists visiting South Africa
16 July 2012
South Africa saw exceptional growth in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2012, says Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
Launching the latest tourist arrival figures in Pretoria on Sunday, Van Schalkwyk said that overall tourist arrivals to the country grew by 10.5% in the first quarter of 2012, with strong growth coming from all regions.
The period from January to March 2012 saw a total of 2 267 807 tourist arrivals to
South Africa - 216 031 more than the same period in 2011.
'Strong positive growth trends'
He also announced that overseas tourist arrivals were up by a combined 17.8%, and
arrivals from Europe grew by 11.9%.
South Africa's biggest overseas source market, the United Kingdom, recovered from
an overall decline in 2011 to post positive returns of 9.5% - with 133 729 tourists
visiting South Africa in the first three months of 2012.
Tourist arrivals from Germany
maintained a strong positive growth trend, and with a
15.2% growth rate, the country was among the best-performing markets on
the European continent.
These were wonderful results for "the destination, the country, the tourism industry
and the economy", Van Schalkwyk said.
"Robust sales and marketing partnerships across the region, South Africa's
accessibility, and the exceptional value for money that the destination offers to
European travellers were significant contributing factors to tourist arrivals growth
from Europe," he said.
The United States also returned excellent growth of 16.1% as South Africa
maintained its status as a desirable and coveted leisure holiday experience for
Higher growth from emerging markets
South Africa also continued to enjoy growth from the emerging markets during the
first quarter of this year. Brazil posted 71.7% growth, India grew by 23.1% and
tourist arrivals from
China increased by 67.7%.
In total, the regional Asian market returned tourist arrivals growth of more than 43%,
delivering 85 189 tourists against 59 549 tourists for the same three months
Tourist arrivals from regional African tourist markets also achieved positive growth
rates of 7.9%, with Angola up 48.5%, Nigeria showing 26.7% growth and
Tanzania with 31.4% growth. The three stood out as exceptional continental-market
achievers in the first three months of the year.
Van Schalkwyk said this overall growth could be ascribed to significant investments
in the South African tourism industry in time, energy and resources.
These included a series of trade workshops across key markets, numerous travel,
trade and media familiarisation trips hosted by South Africa, as well as ongoing in-
depth research into consumer needs.
South Africa's valuable partnerships and determination to defend and grow its
markets were now yielding dividends, as the industry had worked
hard during difficult times, Van Schalkwyk said.
"We are extremely lucky to live in South Africa and to enjoy in our own backyard a
destination that has grown tremendously in popularity and desirability all over the
"Let's work together and encourage each other to continue to make tourists feel at
home, to travel South Africa ourselves like tourists in our own country and to
continue offering the excellent service, value for money and accessibility that have
delivered these exceptional results, which we are optimistic will continue well into
the future," he said.