More tourists flock to SA

2012-10-14 11:59

Johannesburg - Tourist arrivals to South Africa grew by 10.5% over the first six months of this year, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Sunday.

"Despite the global economic downturn, our focused marketing efforts and the hard work of everyone in the tourism industry are paying dividends," he said.

Although the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) predicted a slowdown in global arrivals in the second half of this year, he was delighted with a very strong start in 2012, and was confident that it would be a year worth celebrating for the tourism industry.

"We are very encouraged to see that our carefully formulated tourism growth strategy to increase tourist arrivals to South Africa is yielding the desired results, with excellent growth achieved in the markets where we are actively marketing destination South Africa, and good returns being realised in markets that we have identified as sources of strong tourism potential for our country."

According to Statistics SA, the tourism figures indicated that South Africa experienced an excellent first half of the year, attracting 4 416 373 tourists to the country between January and June 2012, compared to 3 996 760 tourist arrivals for the same period in 2011.

The tourism industry experienced particularly strong growth in overseas tourist arrivals, recording 17.1% growth in arrivals from outside the African continent.

A total of 1 163 477 overseas tourist arrivals were recorded for the first six months of 2012, compared to 993 364 tourist arrivals for the corresponding period in 2011.

Tourist arrivals from Asia grew by 40.7% and Central and South America by 54.4%.

The minister said the launch of SA Airway's direct flight between Beijing and Johannesburg in January this year had contributed to growth from this market, helping to meet some of the demand for destination South Africa in China.

A total of 60 272 Chinese visitors came to South Africa in the first half of 2012, which represented a massive 68.4% growth compared to the first half of 2011, when South Africa received only 35 796 Chinese arrivals.

South Africa was also benefiting from its marketing efforts and strong trade-relations work in other emerging markets, including India and Brazil.

South Africa recorded 21.1% growth in arrivals from India for the first six months of this year, and a phenomenal 68.4% growth in arrivals from Brazil.

"In the two short years since our successful hosting of the Fifa World Cup, Brazil emerged as one of South Africa's most promising tourism markets, and we've followed the success of the tournament with strong trade work to capitalise on increased interest in our country from this important market," Van Schalkwyk said.

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  • alistair.dicks - 2012-10-14 12:10

    I believe this statement

      paul.botha.967 - 2012-10-14 12:30

      You will believe anything ! The tokolosh exist !

      claudia.meads - 2012-10-14 12:38

      Ha, ha, ha, the most irrelevant article since the discovery of the underwater hair dryer. What happened after 16 Aug 2012 'kortbroek traitor'..?

      mike.boylen - 2012-10-14 13:23

      I've met so many people that would love to visit SA but are put off by the crime stats. Your tourism industry could flourish if only your government would get their fingers out of their backsides and deal with the problems in SA. (Sorry. You don't have problems do you? Just "challenges").

  • ray.molekoa.5 - 2012-10-14 12:17

    Where do they end up ? I am a tour operator and seem to be doing something wrong here !

      gerald.king.589 - 2012-10-14 15:43 nkandla. American id also wanna see with my own two eyes what a 200m house looks like.

  • shirlee.grobler - 2012-10-14 12:24

    yes, lots of people coming here briefly to show respect to their dead relatives.

  • christo.terblanche - 2012-10-14 12:25

    Especially the Chinese and it was my first question as well!

  • kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-10-14 12:54

    Van Schalkwyk deliberately confuses tourists with visitors. People spending money as tourists are down, what we are experiencing is an influx of visitors looking business opportunities, especially those from Brazil India and China, but also from Europe. They are spending less money which is what is most important, and not visiting anywhere but the major cities.

      dadidwa - 2012-10-15 23:07

      Good point Kevin.

  • toofaan.monsoon - 2012-10-14 12:57

    The first six months makes sense. Would like to see the results after Marikana.

  • ErnaJacobs - 2012-10-14 13:08

    I wonder how many 'tourists/visitors' makes it back over the border again, and how many just never leave

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-10-14 13:19

    At least good news 4 sa after a very long time, they are all welcome as long as they are not looking 4 place to kill their wives.

  • vmeiring1 - 2012-10-14 13:35

    Pretty sure it's all the expats coming to visit their families

  • hendrikvs - 2012-10-14 14:24

    And what will the decrease be in the second half with all the violence in the country? I am sure people with brains will think twice now before visiting this country in its currents state!

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-10-14 14:44

    I believe that those tourists mainly consisted of chinese, the chinese and making great in roads in our country. Wont be long when the chinese take over parliament. South Africa are selling out to the chinese big time and it all comes with a little white envelope that finds its way into somebody's pocket. Other than that I would'nt brag about the rest a few here a few there.

      hendrikvs - 2012-10-14 14:47

      Very true winifred!

  • hendrikvs - 2012-10-14 14:44

    It is always interesting to read the comments of the supporters of government on these pages. It must be hard for them to accept the fact that they wasted their vote on a no-good government, and the miracle of having the current government making a success not happening. My condolences to you all.

  • heinrich.swart.3 - 2012-10-14 15:34

    A total of 1 163 477 overseas tourist arrivals were recorded ..out of 4 416 373.. Was the rest Zimbabwean tourists?

  • elvis.nkoana - 2012-10-14 16:57

    The tourism industry people are working really hard and with this great support from the government they'll definitely go far. All the best to SA!

  • mart.botha - 2012-10-14 17:27

    I have definitely seen a marked increase in the numbers of tourist busses full of Chinese visitors....except they do not give the impression they're on holiday. Their demenour is more of 'window shopper' than of 'tourist. There is even something odd about their interaction with some in their groups...more of an overseer giving orders type relationships. Just saying.....wonder if kortbroek will confirm a similar number of departures by 'foreign' visitors.

  • alf.pop - 2012-10-15 08:47

    Kortbroek bases his statement on "audited" figures! South Africa used to be a leader in nature conservation! Now with a spineless and clueless pesident, single digit IQ ministers of tourism and ewnvironmental affairs (mostly mental!), we are the leaders in killing off endangered species like Rhinos etc., just because our new bosses in the far east want "Lhino Holn prease!" overseas tourists must boycott South Africa until our government makes a real effort to stamp out poaching, not the usual lip service crap!

  • dewalds3 - 2012-10-15 09:53

    People who are 'in transit' to other African countries through South African airports and other infrastructure gets counted as tourists (and twice). They don't necessarily flock to South Africa - Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and even Zimbabwe are tourist paradises.

  • konstabel.koekemoer - 2012-10-15 12:33

    I wonder how many of the Chinese visitors are employees of Chinese companies coming to work in SA on tourist visas? I do beieve that there is a big increase of real tourists from China but my guess would be that a portion of the 60k visitors are working here illegaly.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-10-15 13:56

    Good but as for China and Brasil we should practice caution...Chinese are here for two goals...1. to ensure that all SA citizens are unemployed by 2020 and rhinos officially becoming extinct species. As for Brazilians...drugs can easily reach Asia and Europe via Johannesburg/Capetown undetected.

  • rodney.scholtz - 2012-10-15 14:20

    Headline should read: "More Illegal immigrants flocking to SA & being re-classified as tourists"

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