16 July 2012

2012 1st quarter results show good tourist arrivals growth

Tourist arrivals to South Africa grew by 10.5% in the 1st quarter of 2012, with overseas arrivals growing by 17.8%. Strong growth was recorded across all regions.

Tourists arriving at OR Tambo International Airport Tourists arriving at OR Tambo International Airport

Let’s continue to make tourists feel at home and continue to offer the excellent service, value for money and accessibility that has delivered these exceptional results. -  South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

The 1st 3 months of 2012 saw 2 267 807 tourists visiting South Africa, 216 031 (10.5%) more than the tourist arrivals in same period in 2011.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkyk said of the results: ‘These are wonderful results for the destination, country, tourism industry and the economy and a most encouraging sign that the tourist arrivals growth has come from all regions.’

This year has seen emerging markets continue their robust growth of 2011 while traditional markets have recovered the lost ground of the 2008-2011 period.
Tourist arrivals from Europe, including the United Kingdom (UK), grew by 11.9% to 394 716 tourists in the 1st 3 months of the year. The United Kingdom, South Africa’s biggest overseas source market, recovered from an overall decline in 2011, growing by 9.5% to 133 729 tourist arrivals.

Arrivals from Germany continued a strong growth trend set in 2011, growing by a further 15.2% to 77 768 tourists from January to March 2012.

Van Schalkwyk said the contributing factors to tourist arrivals growth from Europe included robust sales and marketing partnerships across the region, South Africa’s accessibility, and the exceptional value for money that South Africa offers as a destination.

Meanwhile, arrivals from the United States grew by 16.1% to 70 095 tourists as South Africa maintained its status as a desirable leisure holiday for American travellers.

The excellent growth from emerging markets also continued during the 1st quarter. Arrivals from Brazil grew by 71.7% to 19 133 arrivals, arrivals from India grew by 23.1% to 21 138 arrivals and arrivals from China increased by 67.7% to 30 883 tourists. Tourist arrivals from Asia grew by 43.1% to 85 190 tourists compared with 59 549 tourists for the same period in 2011.

Arrivals from Africa grew by 7.9% with arrivals from Angola increasing 48.5% to 14 394 tourists. Arrivals from Nigeria increased by 26.7% to 17 066 tourists, while arrivals from Tanzania grew by 31.4%  to 8 247 arrivals. These 3 countries stood out as exceptional in terms of tourist arrivals to South Africa in the 1st quarter.
Van Schalkwyk ascribed the overall growth to significant investment in time, energy and resources into the South African tourism industry. Trade workshops were held across key markets, South Africa hosted numerous travel, trade and media familiarisation trips, and there has been ongoing, in-depth research into consumer needs. These have provided insight into which global and regional marketing campaigns would deliver the best results and maximum efficiency.

He added that the tourism industry had worked extremely hard during difficult times and that valuable partnerships and determination to defend and grow South Africa's traditional tourist markets were now yielding handsome dividends.

He stressed the importance of the African market and said the 2013 African Cup of Nations would offer South Africa a valuable opportunity to drive tourist arrivals growth from Africa.