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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

South Africa tourism numbers reach record high: Close to 10 million

South Africa welcomed a total of 9,616,964 tourists in 2013, up from the 9,188,368 tourists that visited South Africa in 2012. Tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2013 showed positive growth from all regions.

The latest release from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) indicates that international foreign arrivals to South Africa reached its highest levels ever, namely 14,860,216 in 2013. This 10.5% increase in international foreign arrivals (over 13,451,565 in 2012) translated to 9.6 million international tourist arrivals. All international tourist arrivals combined increased by 4.7%, while the overseas tourist arrivals sub-category increased by 7.1%.

“South Africa’s tourism sector continued to show positive growth in 2013, reaching a record high of 9.6 million international tourist arrivals. Overall, South Africa recorded 428,596 more tourists in 2013 than we did in 2012,” announced South African Minister of Tourism, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

“Following excellent growth in 2012, when tourist arrivals to South Africa grew by 10.2%, which was more than two and a half times the global average, we are pleased to report that tourist arrival numbers to South Africa grew by a further 4.7% in 2013.

“South Africa’s tourism industry continues to show good growth and we remain confident in the ongoing performance and sustainability of the sector,” said Mr. Van Schalkwyk.

South Africa’s international tourist arrivals grew at an annual average growth rate of 7.4% between 2011 and 2013, well above the global average of 4.5% during this period.

“We are pleased to report ongoing good growth from the majority of our European markets, with double digit growth in 2013 for three of our largest markets in the region, Germany (14.2%), France (10.3%) and Italy (10.6%),” noted Mr. Van Schalkwyk.

A total of 304 090 German tourists visited South Africa in 2013, firmly entrenching its status as South Africa’s third largest source market for overseas tourist arrivals. Tourist arrivals from France, South Africa’s fifth biggest overseas source market, grew to 134,840, while Italian tourist arrivals reached 67,790.

In total, South Africa recorded 417,582 North American tourists in 2013, up from 393,446 in 2012. South Africa’s second largest market, the USA, accounted for 348,646 tourist arrivals in 2013, reflecting 6.7% growth on the 326,643 Americans that visited South Africa in 2012.

“The US market remains a major focus of our global marketing efforts and we are heartened by the continued good growth we have seen out of this market in recent years,” said Mr. Van Schalkwyk.

Asia, and Central & South America continued to record good growth on top of the exceptional levels witnessed in 2012, in which these markets grew by 34% and 37% respectively.

A total of 435,076 Asian tourist arrivals were recorded in 2013, a 9.2% increase on 2012 numbers.

Central and South American tourist arrivals numbers grew by 8.0% to reach 129,463. Brazil remains by far the biggest market out of this region growing by close to 5.6% to reach 82,802 tourist arrivals.

In conclusion, the Minister said that ongoing growth in all the markets in which South Africa actively markets the destination was proof that the country’s carefully considered marketing strategy was delivering the desired results.

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