6 March 2014

SA celebrates 20 years of tourism and democracy at ITB Berlin

Nearly 50 South African companies are represented at the South African Tourism stand at ITB Berlin, currently on at Messe Berlin in Germany until 9 March 2014.

South African Tourism's stand at ITB Berlin in 2012 One of South African Tourism's recent stands at ITB Berlin 

The strong South African support at ITB 2014 is indicative of the confidence that the South African tourism industry has in the German market. – South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk

As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who is attending ITB Berlin, thanked the German travel trade and media for their ongoing support and contribution to the good growth in arrivals from the German market over the past 20 years.

In 1994, South Africa’s first year of democracy, 105 000 German tourists visited South Africa. In 2012, this figure had grown by 153% to 266 333 German tourist arrivals. This is a 13% increase over 2011 arrivals.

2013 arrivals figures are on track to do even better, with January to October 2013 arrivals at 234 531, up 14.8% on the January-to-October 2012 arrivals. This growth also far exceeds the 6.2% average growth in Europe arrivals to South Africa for the same period.

Van Schalkwyk told delegates that Germany remains a very important market for South Africa, which is reflected in the large South African contingent at ITB Berlin.

‘The strong South African support at ITB 2014 is indicative of the confidence that the South African tourism industry has in the German market,’ he said.

He added that South Africa is increasingly setting itself apart in the German market as a country that offers value for money, and whose people make it a remarkable destination.

Germany is currently South Africa’s third-largest source of overseas tourists.

Reflecting on the past 20 years of tourism, Van Schalkwyk said: ‘It’s been an incredible journey in which South Africa has emerged from being a wildlife destination, serving primarily a domestic market, to one of the most visible, exciting, culturally diverse and varied global tourist destinations in the world today.’