South African Tourism (SA Tourism) revealed the SA stats have increased by 1.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.

Tourism experienced slight growth between January and October 2018, according to the latest data from SA Tourism.

SA Tourism, a national agency obliged to market the country as a preferred tourist destination, reported its strategic insights and analytics team saw a comprehensive augmentation of 1.7 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2017.

“This amounts to 8.6 million international tourists that have visited South Africa during this reporting period,” the team report said.

The agency also said that tourists from the African continent have been essential to the rise with those arriving by air at a 6.8 per cent increase and by land at 2.7 per cent respectively. The latter predominantly came from Malawi (13.3 %) and Zimbabwe (7.7 %).

“Increase in arrivals from Angola (38 percent), Democratic Republic of Congo (19,9 percent) and Ghana (17,8 percent) has stimulated this growth,” the statement said.

South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona was in high spirits when saying it was “really encouraging” to see visitors from the continent choosing South Africa as their prime destination.

“The growth is in line with some of the recently implemented visa reforms, as well as some regional airlines increasing their flights into South Africa. We look forward to working closer with them through our Tourism Execution team on the continent to drive more visitors to South Africa.”

There is still work to be done, she admitted, notably at the European market where the upward trend has declined in such countries as the UK, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark whereas some promising trends are visible in Italian and Spanish market.

“We are still recovering from barriers that had affected us in 2017 and the early parts of 2018,” Ntshona said.

“With the visa reforms in place and the unabridged birth certificates issue taken care of, we can now work tirelessly in promoting South Africa as a destination of choice having taken away factors that have previously made people doubt travelling to South Africa.”

The American region have gone up with 1.2 per cent for North America and 9.7 per cent hit by South and Central America.

“This tourism performance clearly shows that we have a challenge to recover what we have lost from our international source markets. It further shows that we need to urgently deal with issues of visa waivers and communication around traveling with minors,” TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said.

“We look forward to continued partnership with public sector to increase tourist arrivals, stimulating economy, and creating more jobs,” Tshivhengwa concluded.

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