How important is Africa’s tourism?

AT the recent Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa) conference in Johannesburg, a number of panellists at the event highlighted the importance of continental and regional tourism.

In the global context, Africa realises less than four percent of the world’s tourism receipts which suggests that in the greater scheme of things our continent has some way to go before it can become a major tourism player.

Regionally we seem to experience about 3.5% growth in the sector with South Africa reporting an interesting 12% growth in long haul visitation (I guess this is due to higher arrivals from a lower base when the visa problem did damage to our stats).

Although Africa is in the minor league, this does not say as a country and the South Coast as a sub destination we are not important.

Nationally, South Africa is a major centre for business and trade and down here we are undoubtedly one of the region’s favourite beach and leisure destinations.

Besides the ex-pats who come each year to stay in their holiday homes, we host between 60 000 to 100 000 foreign­ visitors and it appears that those numbers are growing because we are a year round destination and that the euro, pound or dollar goes a long way.

Domestically we still host in excess of 700 000 locals during various times of the year and this season I have a good feeling that the season will make amends for some prior drop off because of the country’s economic situation- after all we do need one good holiday each year.

The holiday trickle has begun and over the next few weeks there will be a big flow to the coast so let’s all wish everybody a sunny and safe time during the festive season.

Let’s hope the present spring rains give a little leeway and allow for brilliant days and nights here in the paradise of the Zulu kingdom.

Source: News24