Menu Close

Tourism on track to surpass pre-pandemic levels

Add to my bookmarks
ClosePlease login

No account yet? Register

Share This Article:

Picture: Supplied – South Africa’s most important resources are its natural attractions, especially its wildlife. Table Mountain and Kruger National Park are just a couple of the many breath-taking natural attractions that can be seen in this beautiful country, the writer says.

By Dominic Naidoo

Calls for the tourism industry to rethink the travel experience and work together to preserve the momentum of comeback have increased as domestic tourism has well surpassed 2019 numbers and international visitors in South Africa are inching closer to pre-pandemic levels.

As a tourist destination, South Africa has a lot going for it thanks to its breath-taking natural landscape, plentiful wildlife, distinct cultures, and vibrant urban areas. To make the most of this opportunity, you will need to implement marketing strategies that are effective.

South Africa’s most important resources are its natural attractions, especially its wildlife. Table Mountain and Kruger National Park are just a couple of the many breath-taking natural attractions that can be seen in this beautiful country.

These well-known landmarks, in addition to the many ecosystems that may be found in other parts of the world, ought to be promoted in advertising efforts. Attracting potential tourists and highlighting the country’s natural treasures can be accomplished with the use of stunning photographs and immersive films.

Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille made this statement during her presentation of the first quarter (Q1) tourism data for January – March 2023 at Africa’s Travel Indaba. She disclosed that overnight domestic trips were 41.0 percent higher than both pre-pandemic and 2022 levels, with overnight domestic spending being up 24.4 percent from Q1 2022 levels.

Two and a half million people travelled within the country for a vacation between January and March of 2023, an increase of 40.5 percent from the same period in 2022. According to the data, this holiday travel accounted for 27.0 percent of all overnight stays.

With continued co-operation, “the world is rediscovering South Africa”, said De Lille, “and we’ll not only reach but surpass pre-Covid numbers soon”. She said that the positive results from the first three months “showcase the country’s resurgence in the international travel market” and indicate a swift road to recovery.

She reported to the press that, “We’ve seen a 102 percent surge in total arrivals from 2022 to 2023 during Q1, reflecting South Africa’s attractiveness to international visitors.”

This, she stressed, was a goal so large that it “requires a united front: government, private sector, and all tourism stakeholders joining forces to redefine the travel experience in our beloved country”.

As the rest of the globe begins to wake up again, she said, “Tourists are flocking back to South Africa, enticed by our unparalleled natural beauty and the warmth of our people.”

She continued, “We are broadcasting a clear message: South Africa is open for tourism, welcoming business, and eagerly awaiting travellers from across Africa and the globe.”

The report “revealed an impressive 2.1 million visitors, a 102.5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022”.

This is a 102.5 percent increase from the same period in 2022.

It’s still 21.5 percent below what it will be in 2019, but as she said, “South Africa is gaining ground rapidly.” Again, the data shows that visitors from Africa topped the list at 1.6 million, followed by those from Europe (387,000) and the Americas (104,00).

According to the research, in the first quarter of 2023 (from January to March), Zimbabwe remained South Africa’s primary source market, a position it has held since 2019.

It revealed that between January and March of 2023, over 500,000 tourists from Zimbabwe visited South Africa, compared to 643,000 in the corresponding period in 2019 and 173,000 in 2022.

Foreign direct investment in the first quarter of 2023 reached an all-time high of R25.3 billion, up 143.9 percent from the same period in 2022.

De Lille went on to say that “European tourists spent R10.8 billion”, with African tourists spending R9.3 billion as a whole. She said that South Africa’s tourist industry “has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth, outshining other popular destinations like China, France, Italy, and Brazil.”

“Working together with all stakeholders, we aim to boost the economic contribution and job creation of tourism,” she said in conclusion. “Visitors are returning to South Africa in record numbers, drawn here by the country’s stunning landscapes and the kindness of its people.”

The tapestry that represents South Africa’s diverse cultural past is made up of many different languages, religious traditions, and cultural practices. It is imperative that efforts to promote the nation emphasise the diverse cultural backgrounds that exist within it.

Celebrate the multiculturalism of the country by drawing attention to its numerous vibrant customs, exuberant music and dance, delectable ethnic foods, and fascinating historical sites.

Tourism may be able to assist marginalised people while also attracting tourists if you collaborate with the communities that are located nearby and tell the stories that they have experienced in promotional materials.

In this day and age of heightened environmental awareness, it is imperative that environmentally friendly and ethical tourism practices receive widespread support.

South Africa’s efforts to conserve the environment and promote ecotourism can be capitalised on in a number of different ways, including the sponsorship of community-based activities, the promotion of eco-friendly hotels, and responsible animal encounters.

South Africa may advertise itself as a responsible and ethical destination that attracts conscientious visitors by stressing its efforts to conserve natural resources and minimising the impact on local people. This would be one way for South Africa to sell itself as a destination that attracts conscientious tourists.

South African cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban have a rich historical background despite their forward-thinking urban development. These urban cores are bustling with activity, as evidenced by the abundance of art galleries, nightclubs, restaurants, and boutiques.

Cities are teeming with life and should, as a result, be included prominently in marketing campaigns with their well-known landmarks, buzzing marketplaces, cool neighbourhoods, and mouth-watering cuisine.

If cities in South Africa are portrayed as being safe and diversified, they will attract tourists who are looking for a combination of urban experiences and natural beauty. These tourists will be drawn to South Africa.

In this day and age of social media, it is more necessary than ever to use digital marketing strategies and collaborate with people that have a lot of impact in their respective fields.

The most popular tourist destinations in South Africa are promoted by marketing organisations that collaborate with influential travel bloggers, photographers, and content providers to build partnerships.

When you have an engaging story to tell, consider using a video-sharing website such as Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. Promoting user-generated content through activities like contests and hashtags can help marketing initiatives achieve greater levels of success.

She went on to say that “European tourists spent R10.8 billion”, with African tourists spending R9.3 billion as a whole. She said that South Africa’s tourist industry “has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth, outshining other popular destinations like China, France, Italy, and Brazil”.

“Working together with all stakeholders, we aim to boost the economic contribution and job creation of tourism,” she said in conclusion. “Visitors are returning to South Africa in record numbers, drawn here by the country’s stunning landscapes and the kindness of its people.”

Dominic Naidoo is an environmental activist and writer

This article was written exclusively for The African. To republish, see terms and conditions.