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Visitors to SA rises in December

Jan 08 2012 11:32
Johan Brits

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Johannesburg – No fewer than 3.7 million tourists passed through South African airports and border posts last month, 2% more than in December 2010.

Of these tourists, 2.5 million were foreigners.

This was a continuation of the healthy revival in tourist numbers in the Western Cape last November.

It would appear that the Western Cape and its attractions are still the most favoured by tourists.

Almost 1.2 million South Africans passed through the airports and border posts, heading overseas.

When announcing these figures last week, Home Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said most tourists had been from Britain, America and Germany, as well as Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

Dlamini Zuma said her department’s advance passenger processing system and movement control system recorded these figures at airports and border posts.

According to early estimates by SA Tourism, each foreign tourist spends an average R1 000 a day in South Africa.

Dlamini Zuma said she was convinced that every visitor to South Africa enjoys this country’s warmth, hospitality and diversity of fauna and flora.

Following the rise in November tourist numbers, Airports Company South Africa ensured that sufficient staff would be on duty at peak periods in December.

Sake24 understands the department of home affairs has placed 350 newly-trained immigration officials at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg to render advanced services.

Deidre Davids, head of communications at Cape Town International Airport, said passenger numbers there rose 6% in November.

During that month domestic arrivals at the Cape Town airport experienced a 4% increase (300 000 passengers) compared with the corresponding period in 2010, while 6% more people left for inland destinations.

Up to 14% more international passengers landed in Cape Town in November, and an additional 10% departed from there on international flights.

Davids said that since the beginning of the summer season in October, seasonal air transport, like that of Lufthansa (which has daily flights to Frankfurt) and Virgin (daily flights to London), has been “welcomed” at Cape Town airport.

Air France has also recently begun a direct link between Cape Town and Paris three times a week. Edelweiss Air flies twice a week direct from the mother city to Zürich in Switzerland, says Davids.

Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde said tourism currently contributes more than 10% of the province’s gross domestic product.

“We envisage increasing this contribution to 15% by 2015.”

- Sake24

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