In a testament to its allure as a premier travel destination, South Africa proudly announced a tourism milestone at the World Travel Market, where Team South Africa showcased the nation’s remarkable achievement in welcoming over 6.1 million visitors in the first nine months of this year.
The figure marks an impressive 58.4% surge compared to the same period in 2022 when 3.8 million tourists explored the diverse landscapes of the Rainbow Nation.
The surge in arrivals was not only notable in quantity but also in the diversity of visitors. African land arrivals witnessed a remarkable 60% increase, with 4.6 million visitors contributing to the tourism boom. Additionally, Africa air arrivals experienced a significant 35% uptick, emphasizing South Africa’s growing appeal across the continent.
European visitors, captivated by South Africa’s beauty and cultural richness, made up a substantial portion of the influx. The country welcomed over 862,000 arrivals from Europe between January and September, showcasing a remarkable 50.9% increase compared to the 571,000 arrivals recorded in the same period in 2022.
From Asia, the country welcomed more than 148 000 visitors in the first 9 months of 2023, an increase of 82,6% from the 81 000 arrivals in the same period in 2022.
Notably, China’s arrivals to South Africa increased by 247% in 2023 when compared to 2022.
India arrivals to South Africa increased by 57% in 2023, when compared to 2022.
All markets saw an increase in arrivals to South Africa of between 48 and 99%.
During the first two quarters of 2023, total tourist foreign direct spend amounted to R48 billion.
South Africa’s appeal to travellers from around the world is undeniable. The South African Tourism UK and Ireland Hub was recently honoured as the ‘Luxury Tourist Board of the Year’ at the Aspire Awards 2023, held in Manchester on 18 October. Aspire, a premier luxury trade magazine, presented this award.
Furthermore, in July, South Africa received recognition as the “Best Country in the World”, while Cape Town was awarded the title of the “Best City” at the Telegraph Travel Awards as voted by The Telegraph readers.
Minister de Lille engaged the Telegraph Travel editor, Ben Ross and received the awards at the South Africa exhibition stand at WTM in London on Monday 6 November. Minister de Lille also engaged various trade partners and high profile media representatives including CNN, Wanderlust magazine and LonelyPlanet.
The LonelyPlanet team also handed over an award to Minister de Lille voting South Africa as a “Top Sustainable Destination” in the Best in Travel 2024 awards.
“Despite these wonderful recognitions and accolades, in a highly competitive global tourism landscape, we must continue to escalate our efforts to reassure travellers from all over the world that South Africa is the destination they must visit and explore. At WTM, we will also update our partners on our latest safety initiatives and reinforce our message that South Africa is an affordable destination where visitors can enjoy a range of diverse experiences and that these are all complemented by the warmth and welcoming posture of South Africa’s people.
“As the summer season has begun in South Africa, we are also going to use that opportunity to invite the world to come to South Africa for summer,” De Lille concluded.