Tourists love South Africa
May 05, 2019
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: TOURISTS from Africa just love South Africa and they come from all over the continent-and they are coming in record numbers too.
And that interest in the country-and specifically in KwaZulu-Natal-just keeps on growing.
More tourists visit South Africa from the continent than any other region in the world.
Statistics reveal that there were more than 7.5-million tourists who arrived in the country from Africa in 2017 (73% of the total number of arrivals).
Between January-October 2018, the number of arrivals from Africa was more than 6.4-million, a 2.9% increase over the same period the year before.
And some 60% of the 2017 international arrivals to KZN were from the African continent.
That translated to 485 775 visitors, up from 464 863 from the previous year.
Referring to the 60% record, Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, told guests at the KZN breakfast briefing on Friday that it was a “sobering” thought.
“If this is not the biggest portion of international arrivals, then nothing is,” he said.
“Africa is the new frontier. It is our fastest growing source market: it is our new tourism gold,” said Phindile Makwakwa, the acting chief executive of Tourism KZN.
“And that is why we are on an all-out aggressive marketing campaign to bring in even more thousands of tourists from Africa to KZN,” Makwakwa said.
The top four source markets who flew into KZN in 2017 came from Nigeria, Tanzania, the DRC and Kenya-and they stayed the longest and spent the most.
When it came to the tourists who arrived via the land borders, Swaziland topped the list, followed by Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Research revealed that “the beach” was still the number one attraction, followed by going to theme parks, adventure and wildlife.
The total arrivals by land in 2018 was nearly 7.5 million compared to 2017 which was 7.2 million. The total arrivals by air from Africa in 2017 was 290 000 compared to 2018 at 315 356.
Most of the arrivals by land in 2018 were tourist from Zimbabwe and in 2018 thos by air came from Angola, followed by Nigeria.
TKZN not only wants tourists to come to the province, but also to stay longer than their previous trips, thus boosting the local economy even further and helping to create and maintain jobs.
TKZN’s push to attract thousands of more visitors from the continent has been boosted by various trade and consumer roadshows across Africa.
They have hosted such events as the “Spotlight on Africa” workshops in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia to educate their guests more about the province and what it has to offer.
The aim was just the same as at last week’s Africa Travel Indaba: to get KZN into the all-important holiday brochures that travel agents give to their clients.
They have also hosted dozens of travel agents and tour operators in the province. Although the agents had been selling holiday packages to KZN, they had never been to the province themselves and their visit was to give them a first-hand experience of the various destinations and attractions.
Having seen the province for themselves enables them to keep KZN top-of-mind when recommending holiday destinations to their clients back home.
A “Travel Academy” was also held recently for top-selling South African and SADC travel agents and operators who also got to see the sights for themselves.
Craig Drysdale, the head of global sales for Thompsons Africa, confirmed that tourism from Africa was growing. The company became aware this some 10 years ago when it set up a specialised African division. The majority of tourists to South Africa came from east and west Africa, he said.
Pietermaritzburg-based tour operator Bunny Bhoola added: “Without a doubt, the African market is the new gold.