Decline in international travel to SA with no sign of recovery

Posted on 26 September 2019

Recent Statistics SA numbers have international visitors to South Africa in decline for the first seven months of 2019.

Arrivals by foreign travellers declined by 5% according to a recently released Statistics SA report which compared arrivals from July 2018 and 2019. This decline is another hit after 2018 saw a 1.9% overall decline in South Africa’s tourism economy, according to Tourism Update. 

‘We have been saying for some time things are tough and are not looking good in terms of international tourist arrivals into South Africa. Our TBI [Tourism Business Index] results from last year predicted this and now it is a reality with international arrivals continuing to decline,’ Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa told Moneyweb.

Stats SA

This is not good news for South Africa which relies on tourism for income and employment opportunities. According to Fin24, tourism in South Africa contributed 1.5 million jobs and R425.8 billion to the economy in 2018, making up 8.6% of all economic activity.

This decline comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa specifically mentioned international tourism in his State of the Nation address earlier this year. He said government aimed to double international visitors to 21 million by 2030. But projections for the rest of the year are not looking promising according to the TBCSA.

‘We were hoping for a recovery in 2019, but it is looking increasingly unlikely from an international tourism perspective. We are not seeing signs of a recovery,’ said Tshivhengwa.

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