The South African Department of Tourism shared 2016’s international tourist numbers, that saw an impressive 13% increase as per the Stats SA statistical report. This comes in as a much-welcomed growth following the 6,8% decrease in inbound tourist numbers to the country in 2015.
1.1 million more travellers travelled to the country, reaching a total of over 10 million tourists exploring the country, highlighting the country’s strength as a travel destination of choice.
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said: “The spectacular growth in tourist arrivals indicates that the close collaboration between various government departments, between the Department of Tourism and Industry, and between suppliers and service providers on the ground has paid off.”
Of the travellers received, the biggest contributor of travellers was the UK, with 447 840 travellers visiting the country. 38% of inbound travellers were Chinese nationals and 22% of them were from India. From within the continent, Zimbabwe was the biggest contributor, with 2028 881 Zimbabweans travelling to the country, followed by Lesotho which contribute 1757 058 travellers and Mozambique with 1268 258 travellers.
In President Jacob Zuma’s 2017 State of the Nation Address, the tourism sector was highlighted as a important contributor towards the nations economic growth. The sector supported at least 711 746 jobs in 2015 according to the Tourism Satellite Account.
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Taking the industry’s growth in conjunction with the Airports Company South Africa record growth numbers, where over 39 million travellers were processed across it’s network of nine airports, the sector promises much growth.