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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

South Africa’s Tourism Shows Strong Recovery Ahead of Summer


South Africa’s tourism sector is heading into the peak summer season in good stead. This is according to data released by Statistics South Africa today, 25 October 2022, showing a significant increase in both international and domestic tourism numbers.


Year-to-date, South Africa has received a total of 3.3 million international arrivals. This signals a 165% increase compared to the same period in 2021, indicative of the sector’s growth and recovery.


“Our tourism numbers continue to show a steady upward trajectory. We’re excited to head into summer, which is our peak season, with such great performance and in high spirits as a sector. This is also a good indication that the work that our teams have been doing in the various markets has been effective and is paying off,” says Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo, South African Tourism’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.


International arrivals into South Africa were over half a million, (555 832) in August 2022, a 199% increase when compared to August 2021. Month-to-month, there was a 10% growth in international arrivals, when compared to July 2022.


According to the Stats SA insights, holidaymakers constituted the majority of travellers into South Africa, during the month of August, followed by individuals travelling for business as well as students and tourists travelling for medical treatment.


Africa and Europe have consistently been the biggest sources of arrivals to South Africa, thus far, 2.5 million arrivals were from the continent, which represents a 75% share. Arrivals from Europe came second with a share of 15%.


From the domestic front, more and more South Africans are also heeding the call to explore their country. From January to August 2022, 21.3 million domestic trips were taken. This is a 140% increase compared to the same period in 2021. This is a significant growth of 92% over the 2019 pre-pandemic levels.


“Our domestic tourism sector is the cornerstone of our tourism sector, so we are pleased to see that domestic tourism is growing, not only in numbers but also in spend,” continues Khumalo.


Year-to-date, domestic spend has seen incredible growth of 190% over 2021 to reach R59.2 billion, with the average domestic tourist spending R2 781 per trip.


“Interestingly, the number of bed nights increased, meaning people are not only travelling but are spending more nights away from home. This shows that as South Africans we are surely inculcating a culture of travel amongst ourselves,” concludes Khumalo.


Khumalo encouraged South Africans to check out Summer holiday deals on the Sho’t Left website, to be able to book their festive season travel at affordable rates.

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