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African markets remain the engine growth of the South African tourism sector

         Date: 2012-05-07

           Tag: African markets, African markets tourism

Summary: Overall, the SA’s tourism industry has managed to build on the momentum achieved during a record-breaking 2010, by growing a further 3.3 percent and attracting 8,339,354 international tourists in 2…

According to Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s minister of tourism, the country is pleased with the development and as a result has allocated $31.5 million over the next three financial years to South African Tourism to grow its share of the African market.

African markets remain the engine growth of the South African tourism sector, with Nigeria and Tanzania the leading lights of the continent’s biggest growth markets in 2011, with tourist arrivals from these two countries growing by 37.5 percent and 45.8 percent, respectively.

As a result of this impressive performance, the South African government has budgeted about $31.5 million to grow its tourism sector over the next three from the African markets perspective.

“We have opened a country office in Angola and plan to have five more SA Tourism offices on the continent in the next five years, the second of which is set to open in Nigeria in the coming financial year,” the minister disclosed.

For him, tourists from Africa are major leisure conscious, attracted by South Africa’s beauty, nightlife, and lifestyle and shopping attractions, while the 2013 African Cup of Nations that would be hosted by South Africa provides a major opportunity for the country to drive arrivals growth from the African continent in this financial year.

Overall, the SA’s tourism industry has managed to build on the momentum achieved during a record-breaking 2010, by growing a further 3.3 percent and attracting 8,339,354 international tourists in 2011.

The official 2011 tourism statistics were released in parliament on Thursday, April 12, 2012 by the SA minister, who said despite tough global economic conditions, South Africa’s tourist arrivals had surpassed the 8,073,552 mark it reached when recording 15.1 percent growth in 2010, on the back of the country’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Again, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, according to him, was a once in a lifetime global showcase for the country, with unprecedented international media exposure worth billions of dollars, and also left the country with enhanced and modern world-class tourists infrastructure.

However, while it was a wonderful opportunity that certainly gave SA a big boost, the tourism industry never became complacent after its success. Instead, the minister noted that the country had used it as a catalyst to work even harder to sustain that tourism growth, to defend its core tourist markets and to tap into the potential of new tourism markets.

He noted that the country capitalised on the enhanced international awareness and positivity, and refined marketing efforts with its media and trade partners, while its core markets in Europe and North America remain a major source of long-haul tourists, as the country’s overall growth in 2011 was largely due to a 14.6 percent growth in the emerging markets of Asia (driven by growth of 24.3 percent from China and 26.2 percent by India in 2011).

Tourist numbers were also up, thanks to a 6.9 percent increase in tourist arrivals from regional Africa continent (with growth of 37.5 percent from Nigeria).

European tourist arrivals declined by 3.5 percent, due largely to the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis in many countries in Europe, while North American numbers grew by 2.3 percent, despite the continent also facing major economic challenges.

“What the global economic crisis has clearly illustrated is that building the domestic market and the African land market is crucial to protecting our tourism industry against global shocks. I am pleased to report a 6.8 percent growth rate from Africa land markets, which remains one of our most important growth markets.

In addition to our sustained and effective trade and marketing efforts in Africa, we have also benefited from the effective usage of mobile phone technology in our marketing campaigns to market more effectively to potential consumers across the African continent,” van Schalkwyk further noted.

The minister further commended the hard work, excellent partnerships and activation executed by SA Tourism home office, adding to the increased awareness and positivism towards the destination with a strong focus on highlighting the country’s lifestyle attributes.

“Although there is good reason for optimism for the SA Tourism industry the economic climate remains difficult and competition for tourist arrivals fierce. For South Africa to maintain its tourism arrivals, we need to see a collective, robust approach by all in the industry to keep South Africa on its current growth trajectory,” said the minister.


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