In an impressive display of continental camaraderie, Kenya and Zimbabwe emerge as the driving forces behind a burgeoning tourism boom in South Africa.
The rainbow nation witnessed a remarkable influx of 5.8 million visitors from other African countries during the period spanning January to November 2023, constituting a staggering 75.5% of total tourist arrivals—a significant surge compared to the same period in 2022.
According to citizen.co.za, at the forefront of this African odyssey were 1.9 million visitors from Zimbabwe, contributing substantially to South Africa’s thriving tourism sector. Alongside their Zimbabwean counterparts, 37,414 Kenyan tourists added their essence to the vibrant tapestry of South Africa’s visitor demographics.
Statistics South Africa published the recent international arrival figures for January to November 2023.
“I am so pleased by these numbers from the rest of the African continent. We view the region as very significant and important. Kenya’s remarkable performance can be attributed to the strategic decision by government to simplify the visa regime earlier this year as well as targeted and effective insights-driven marketing campaigns,” said Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille.
“Overall, through focused marketing, various collaborations and leveraging various strategic opportunities by the Department of Tourism, South African Tourism and the broader tourism sector, we have been able to achieve these very impressive results on the continent.”
Tourist arrivals from Americas
According to StatsSA, international tourist arrivals from January to November 2023 totalled 7.6 million, representing a 51.8% increase compared with the same period in 2022.
South Africa registered at least 411,254 tourist arrivals from the Americas between January and November this year, reflecting a 44.1% growth compared to the same period in 2022.
The United States of America contributed the most, with 320,948 arrivals, marking a 39.5% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
“The US remains a top international source market for South Africa and has been recording robust steady growth in arrivals in 2023. Based on our December projections we anticipate recording our 2019 pre-pandemic arrivals well ahead of the forecasted recovery mooted for the 2024/2025 financial year,” said De Lille.
“We are proud of the work done by the team working collaboratively alongside our stakeholders in the public and private sector to deliver exciting consumer and trade-facing projects to drive brand affinity and distribution channel initiatives to reignite this market.”
During the first 11 months of 2023, South Africa recorded 182,497 arrivals from Asia, with India leading the way with 73,037 tourists, closely followed by China, with 34,669 arrivals.
“It is evident that our country remains attractive and that more can be unlocked with more policy and regulation revisions. I am committed to working with all partners and government colleagues to unlock barriers such as visa regulations, safety concerns and limited air access and air lift, so that we can grow our sector and meaningfully contribute to our country’s economy,” said De Lille.
“Our country offers unique and undeniable breath-taking landscapes and tourism products and experiences. We also thank all the South Africans for their continuous hospitality and extending a warm welcome to all our visitors. Here’s to South Africa’s sustained charm, attractiveness and relentless tourism growth.”