Friday, May 24, 2024

South Africa received 5.8 million tourists in 2022: Minister

“This represents an overall inbound increase of 152.6 per cent for South Africa compared to January to December 2021.

• May 9, 2023
Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Boulders Beach, Cape Town

The South African government on Tuesday disclosed that it received 5.8 million tourists from across the globe in 2022.

Patricia De Lille, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, disclosed this at the ongoing Africa’s Travel INDABA (ATI) in Durban.

She said four million of the 5.8 million tourists received were from Africa, indicating that the continent’s tourism sector was open and thriving post-COVID-19 era.

“For South Africa, we have seen encouraging growth in our tourist arrival numbers between January and December 2022, reaching 5.8 million with over four million of those arrivals from African countries.

“This represents an overall inbound increase of 152.6 per cent for South Africa compared to January to December 2021.

“After stronger than expected recovery in 2022, this year could see international tourist arrivals to South Africa return to pre-pandemic levels in Europe and the Middle East,” she said.

Ms Lille noted that going forward, Africans needed to work together to unlock the full potential of their tourism sector, which entails the visa regime in all African countries.

She said South Africa had rolled out the e-visa system to several countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

She said to ease the visa procurement process further, the country would be expanding its e-visa system to additional 20 countries.

“In this regard, South Africa has visa waivers for several African countries for a specified period and up to a maximum of 90 days, including SADC countries such as Tanzania, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Mauritius, Malawi and Botswana.”

Ms Lille expressed readiness to work with various partners to reduce the high cost of air travel in Africa, as this deters visitors and limits tourism growth.

She spoke on prioritising sustainable tourism practices that address climate change and protect the environment and cultural heritage while promoting economic development.

“We must also prioritise innovation and technology, which can help us develop and promote our tourism offerings more effectively and efficiently.

“Finally, we must ensure that our efforts to promote the African tourism sector are inclusive and benefit all members of our society,” she said.

Also, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, premier of Kwazulu-Natal, said tourism was one of the foremost sectors the province had identified as part of its economic recovery and reconstruction plan.

According to her, the ATI gathering marks a critical tipping point in the province’s recovery as all legacies of the damaging floods were consciously left behind.

(NAN)

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