South Africa registered an extraordinary 15% boost in tourist arrivals to the country last year – outperforming the worldwide average by 8%. And even though the Fifa World Cup in June and July contributed towards the outstanding increase, visitor arrivals had been buoyant throughout the year.
During the past year South Africa welcomed more than eight million (8 073 552) visitors to the country when compared with 2009 visitors of approximately seven million (7 011 865), comparing incredibly well when it comes to international standards.
Statistics coming from the UN World Tourism Organisation revealed that global tourism arrivals were determined to have expanded by 6.7% in 2010. This resulted in South Africa outperforming the international market by 8%.
Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announcing the statistics in Cape Town, proclaimed he had “absolutely no doubt of even more growth this year”.
“All of us are unquestionably ecstatic with these robust growth figures, even more so for the reason that it follows immediately after a global economic recession,” he was quoted saying.
World Cup tourists and new markets
The Department of Tourism suggested 90% of the visitors who arrived for the FIFA World Cup had revealed the fact that they would like to come to South Africa for a second time, mainly because the tournament had created a significantly better representation of the country.
“From the outcomes of our customer survey in relation to arrivals during the World Cup, we fully understand that more than 309 000 visitors arrived in South Africa for the principal purpose of the FIFA World Cup,” Van Schalkwyk mentioned. “The FIFA World Cup arrivals as a result represents approximately four percent of the total arrivals for last year.”
He acknowledged the legacy of the FIFA World Cup was obviously a significant boost for the travel and leisure sector and additionally had cemented a basis for sustained investment and growth in the industry.
“In relation to reaping the added benefits of the FIFA World Cup, now is certainly not the time to sit back,” Van Schalkwyk said. “I wish to ask the whole sector to carry on to build and develop using this positive approval of our country and in addition aggressively entrench our primary tourism market segments and appeal to exciting emerging markets.”
“When it comes to terms of growth from the regional markets, the Americas expanded the quickest at 37.4% as compared to 2009,” he mentioned. This was followed by Asia and Australasia at 34.6%, along with long-haul market segments displaying an expansion of 21%.
Strong foundation to build on
The UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands and France continued to be South Africa’s top five international source markets. When it comes to emerging markets, significant expansion originated from Brazil with an increase of 66.7%, China revealed a growth rate of 62.3%, India with 29.7% and Nigeria with 10%, even though as a result of comparatively low bases.
“These statistics give a strong foundation on which we are able to build in term of our growth targets for emerging markets,” Van Schalkwyk said. “From a tourism point of view, all of us are in position to gain enormously as a result of our recent inclusion in the BRIC partnership, and we are aligning our planning and strategies accordingly.”