South Africa’s 2011 tourist arrival figures continue to grow as it surpasses record-breaking World Cup year
- Category: Agency & Association
- Created on Thursday, 12 April 2012 14:20
South Africa’s 2011 tourist arrival figures continue to grow as it surpasses record-breaking World Cup yearSouth Africa’s tourism industry has managed to build on the momentum achieved during a record-breaking 2010, by growing a further 3.3% and attracting 8 339 354 international tourists in 2011.
The official 2011 tourism statistics were released in Parliament today by South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who said that despite tough global economic conditions South Africa’s tourist arrivals had surpassed the 8 073 552 mark it reached when recording 15.1% growth in 2010, on the back of the country’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a once in a lifetime global showcase for our country which gave us unprecedented international media exposure worth billions of dollars and left us with enhanced, modern world-class tourist infrastructure. However, while it was a wonderful opportunity that certainly gave us a big boost, the tourism industry never became complacent after its success. Instead, we used it as a catalyst to work even harder to sustain that tourism growth, to defend our core tourist markets and to tap into the potential of new tourism markets.
"We capitalised on our enhanced international awareness and positivity and refined our marketing efforts with our media and trade partners,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
“And I’m delighted to say that the hard work by all in the tourism industry, both in the public and private sector, has paid off as we recorded a 3.3% increase in our 2011 international tourist arrivals figures. If you exclude the nearly 310 000 people who travelled specifically for the FIFA World Cup, then actual growth in 2011 was 7.4 percent, above the rate of global growth of 4.4%. We are therefore extremely happy with the 2011 tourist statistics and optimistic about the potential for future growth in South Africa’s tourism industry,” Minister van Schalkwyk added.
While South Africa’s core markets in Europe and North America remain our major source of long-haul tourists, the country’s overall growth in 2011 was largely due to a 14.6% growth in the emerging markets of Asia (driven by growth of 24.3% from China and 26.2% by India in 2011). Tourist numbers were also up thanks to a 6.9% increase in tourist arrivals from regional Africa continent (with growth of 37.5% from Nigeria).
European tourist arrivals declined by 3.5%, due largely to the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis in many countries in Europe, while North American numbers grew by 2.3%, despite the continent also facing major economic challenges.
Once again, if World Cup numbers are excluded, growth would have been 2.4% for Europe, 13.7% for North America, 26.3% for Asia and 9.1% for Africa in 2011.