New Telegraph

Q1 2024: South Africa records 2.4m int’l tourist arrivals

South Africa tourism continued on its growth path as its recorded 2.4 million international tourists in the first quarter of this year, representing 15.4% increase in the same period of last year, with Africa contributing 1.8 million tourists to this growth figure. This is according to the official figures released by Statistics South Africa. It noted that the figures for January to March 2024 points to a robust and growing South African tourism sector.

The country welcomed 1.8 million tourist arrivals from Africa, marking a significant 74.5% of all arrivals. Zimbabwe and Ghana stood out for their remarkable growth, with Zimbabwe experiencing a 21.8% increase in tourist arrivals to South Africa when compared to the first three months of 2023, totalling 613 675 arrivals, while Ghana recorded a 249,4% increase when compared to the same period in 2023, reaching 7,904 arrivals for the first quarter of this year. The country’s Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille expressed appreciation over the continued remarkable growth in arrival numbers from the African continent, especially Ghana.

This is as she said, “Ghana’s immense performance can be attributed the fact South Africa and Ghana announced a visa-waiver scheme on 1 November 2023. ‘‘The visa-waiver allows for travel for periods of up to 90 days within a calendar year, for purposes of business or tourism. This coupled, with targeted integrated marketing initiatives executed by South African Tourism to attract visitors from this market makes for a winning formula for the growth of our sector.”

Details of the report showed a strong momentum from the Americas (North and South America), as the country recorded 118,194 tourist arrivals, reflecting a 12.4% growth compared to the same period in 2023. Tourist arrivals from Europe is put at 420,727, an 8.6% increase compared to the same period in 2023. The United Kingdom remains the top European source market, with 125,420 tourists, marking a 5.3% growth compared to 2023. Germany experienced a 9.9% increase in arrivals compared to same period in 2023, amounting to 98,954 tourists followed by the Netherlands, which saw an increase of 9.9% when compared to 2023, amounting to 37,548 tourist arrivals. While Russia is said to have exhibited a dramatic growth of 9.6% when compared to 2023, contributing 9 329 arrivals in 2024.

The Asia markets also showed significant growth, with a total 49,741 arrivals from the region, representing an astounding 25.4% when com- pared to the same period in 2023. From India the country welcomed 16,209 tourists, which was 0.9% lower compared to 2023; 11 017 visitors came from China registering, a massive 82% increase when compared to the same period in 2023. While in the Middle East South Africa received 2,387 arrivals from Saudi Arabia, marking an increase of 31.7% when compared to 2023; The United Arab Emirates contributed 321 arrivals. Speaking further on this development, the Tourism Minister said, “The tourism sector is a significant contributor to the economy and job creation. We are determined to continue with this momentum. South Africa remains attractive and accessible for all travellers to enjoy.”

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