South Africa’s tourism growth outstrips world average

Cape Town, April 17 (IANS) South Africa’s tourism growth outstripped the world average last year, demonstrating the country as one of the most successful tourism destinations in the world, the government said.

Tourism growth in the country was registered at 10.5 percent for January to November 2012, compared to a global average growth of 4 percent, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said Tuesday.

Overseas arrivals in SA (all international arrivals excluding Africa) grew four times those of the world average — 16 percent from January to November 2012 with over 8.3 million tourist arrivals to South Africa, Xinhua quoted the minister as saying.

“Indeed, South Africa continued to entrench its status as a major international tourist and business events destination,” the minister said in a statement posted on the ministry website.

With growth rates of more than doubling the world average and quadrupling the world average if one takes overseas visitors into account, “we can look back very favorably on 2012”, the minister said.

South Africa’s tourism growth remained stable for the last couple of years, even amidst the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

In 2010, the year in which South Africa hosted a successful FIFA World Cup, the country saw significant growth in the industry. But unlike other big event destinations, South Africa held onto that growth in 2011 and saw growth-on-growth in 2012.

“For us to have achieved this extraordinary success, the country has relied heavily on the travel trade to be frontline ambassadors for our destination in this market, to not only sell our destination but to sell it enthusiastically in the face of significant competition from many other destinations the world over,” the minister said.

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