New SA stats show glimmer of hope after drop in 2015 tourism
Cape Town - The total number of foreign travellers who visited South Africa from African and other overseas countries, arriving through all ports of entry during 2015, was 15 051 826. This figure represents a decrease of 0,3% when compared to 2014, with the most severe dip in the number of tourists seen during June 2015.
This is according to the Tourism 2015 report, which was released on Monday, 4 April, and which provides information collected by DHA immigration officers on South African residents and foreign travellers that passed through South African air, land and sea ports of entry/exit in 2015.
The report presents detailed information on the mode of travel, purpose of visit, length of stay and demographic characteristics of foreign tourists.
It shows that foreign arrivals and departures both decreased by 0,3% in 2015 and that of the foreign arrivals figures, a majority of 92,7% were tourists, or holidaymakers.
Of these holidaymakers, a decrease of 6,8% from 9 549 236 in 2014 to 8 903 773 in 2015 could be seen.
2015 SA tourism figures drop 6.8%
This could be due to the international confusion around, and backlog of South Africa's issuance of new visa regulations for minor travellers, which came into effect on 1 June last year. Figures from Stats SA show a massive dip in international travel during this time.
The Department of Home Affairs announced earlier this year that 0.6% of foreign minors were turned back during SA 2015 festive season.
The future, despite the overall drop in tourism in 2015, looks brighter. A comparison between the movements in January 2015 and January 2016 in the latest Tourism and Migration report indicates that the volume of arrivals increased for foreign travellers by 11,4%, from 1 399 328 in January 2015 to 1 558 854 in January 2016, with departures also increasing by 8,5%, from 1 124 873 in January 2015 to 1 220 540 in January 2016.
The volume of arrivals for foreign travellers increased by 0,7%, from 1 547 900 in December 2015 to 1 558 854 in January 2016, Stats SA found.
Their analysis reveals that of all the tourists from each of the overseas regions, more than 90,0% came to South Africa for holidays in January 2016.
The distribution of tourists by region of residence in 2015 followed a similar pattern as shown in previous years. A high proportion, 73,8%, of tourists was residents from the SADC countries, while 24,1% and 1,9% of tourists were from overseas and ‘other’ African countries respectively.
Likewise, the 2015 patterns of mode of travel and purpose of visit did not differ greatly from what was observed in 2014 and earlier years. Generally, overseas and ‘other’ African tourists flew into the country whereas tourists from SADC countries came in by road.
Overseas business tourists were mainly UK residents and students were mostly USA residents, while residents of Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho made up the bulk of business tourists from SADC countries.
SADC students came mainly from Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho. With regard to ‘other’ African countries, tourists on business and study were mostly from Nigeria and Kenya.
In 2015, tourists from overseas and ‘other’ African countries spent, on average, six and five days per month in South Africa respectively, compared to tourists from SADC who spent three days.