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Travel & Tourism in South Africa

South Africa remains a value for money destination in Africa

The stability of the South African economy in relation to other African countries continued to give the country a competitive edge during 2013. South Africa’s travel and tourism industry remains characterised by the presence of numerous players across different categories, although this serves to make the industry highly competitive as travellers have multiple options in terms price preferences. The competitiveness of the industry also remains a key driver of growth in domestic tourism.

SADC country visitors contribute a significant portion to arrivals in South Africa

South Africa continues to receive a respectable number of visitors from the SADC region, meaning that other southern African countries dominate inbound arrivals. Neighbouring countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique continue to record positive growth in the number of arrivals each year. Growth in arrivals from these countries is mainly due to the short distances between these countries, which makes it relatively cheap to travel by road, although air travel to South Africa remains relatively expensive from these countries. Many travellers from such countries often capitalise on visiting friends and relatives residing in South Africa, thereby saving money on accommodation each time they travel.

Better medical facilities in South Africa continue to influence medical tourism growth

There is a general increase being recorded in the numbers of people visiting South Africa in search of medical treatment from the country’s many healthcare institutions, which are considered to have superior facilities and high levels of medical expertise. Medical tourists are received mostly from other African countries which may lack the appropriate medical facilities with proper equipment to perform challenging surgical procedures. Inbound medical tourists visitors from overseas often travel to South Africa for surgical procedures which are considered relatively expensive in other countries such as the US and the UK.

Travel retail remains a key travel and tourism category

Travel retail remains an important category within the travel and tourism industry in South Africa. The success of travel retail in South Africa continues to be driven by the ability of these operators to source travel and tourism products and services from various different suppliers, allowing consumers to save time and, in many cases, money as well. Travel retailers also remain popular due to their ability to design travel packages which can be tailor-made to suit travellers with varying levels of spending power.

National Tourism Strategy expected to stimulate growth in arrivals over the forecast period

The number of arrivals is expected to continue growing in South Africa over the forecast period. Much of this growth is expected to be driven by the ongoing efforts of the Department of Tourism to market South Africa as a viable global travel and tourism destination across the world. More travel and tourism conferences such as the Tourism Indaba are expected to be held across South Africa in order to showcase South Africa’s travel and tourism offer. The number of domestic tourism trips is also expected to record positive growth during the forecast period, in line with the more intense efforts under the national domestic tourism strategy to encourage South Africans to develop more of a travel culture.