South Africa’s Tourism Sector has experienced major growth in the tourism sector as the official release of international arrival figures by Statistics South Africa for January to December 2023 has shown that South Africa recorded a total of 8.5 million tourists in the year 2023.
When compared to the same period in 2022, the data demonstrates an astounding 48.9% increase.
With Africa in the lead, South Africa received 6.4 million African tourists between January and December 2023, making up a significant 75.6% of all arrivals. However, Zimbabwe and Kenya stood out as Zimbabwe accounted for 2.1 million arrivals, while Kenya accounted for 42,403 arrivals out of the 6.1 million.
From the American continents, South Africa registered 455,901 tourists, with 353, 975 of them coming in from the United States of America.
South Africa also recorded a strong 1.2 million tourist arrivals from Europe, with the United Kingdom having the highest number of arrivals with 356,160 tourists, Germany recording 245,259 tourists, the Netherlands contributing 131,371 tourists, and Russia accounting for 28,357 of the tourist arrivals, among others.
The country also recorded tourist arrivals from Asia and the Middle East, with Asia contributing 199,308 of visitors and the Middle East accounting for 54,339 arrivals in 2023.
The Minister of Tourism for South Africa, Patricia de Lille, underlined the carefully considered decisions that led to the expansion of some markets while expressing her happiness with the remarkable figures from the African continent.
Speaking on the reasons for the growth in the industry, she said, “Kenya’s remarkable performance can be attributed to the strategic decision by the government to simplify the visa regime in 2023 as well as targeted and effective insights-driven marketing campaigns”.
De Lille went on to say, “This recovery can be attributed to consistent efforts to showcase South Africa as a welcoming, responsible tourism destination, highlighting experiences that align with intrepid, green economy conscious travellers.”
Minister de Lille emphasised the allure and attractiveness of South Africa as a travel destination, mentioning in particular the restoration of direct aircraft routes in 2023 and the reopening of the Chinese market.
In order to achieve continuous growth, Minister de Lille stressed the need to remove obstacles such restricted air travel, airlift, and visa requirements.
The Minister pledged to collaborate with allies and other government officials in order to expedite the modification of regulations and policies.
Minister de Lille concluded by thanking all of the tourists for coming to South Africa and expressing gratitude to South Africans for their ongoing hospitality and cordial welcome. She also expressed hope in the country’s sustained charm, allure, and unwavering development in tourism.