Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, on Thursday told media that the South African tourism sector is poised for a tremendous bounce back and positive growth.
The Minister made these bold remarks as the first half of the year (2022) showed a staggering 147% improvement in arrivals, reaching an impressive 2,285,746.
Sisulu was speaking in Johannesburg during a media briefing where she presented the domestic and international tourism performance from January to June of this year.
“We are particularly pleased that the arrivals from the Americas increased by 331% and represented 128,991 arrivals,” she said.
According to Sisulu, Europe remains our key overseas market and despite external shocks such as the war in Ukraine, it still “had the most considerable percentage increase in arrivals of 563%.”
However, she maintains that the African land market is our bread and butter, and it also showed impressive growth, dwarfing the Europe and Americas arrivals numbers, stating that “the African air market brought in 1,634,244 arrivals.”
Tourism’s upward trajectory is overwhelming on the domestic front; between January and June 2022, 15,2 million domestic trips were taken. The Minister described this as “a major win for the tourism sector as this is higher than pre-pandemic levels, indicating that South Africa’s domestic tourism sector has also experienced a revenge travel trend.”
Sisulu said the most heart-warming aspect of the numbers was that the share of holiday trips has increased by 23,8% compared with the same period in 2021, “and the average spend has skyrocketed to 28,6%.”
As a rule of thumb, you must have “a buoyant domestic market because it is a silver bullet that turns locals into storytellers and ambassadors of their country,” the Minister pointed out.