The Department of Tourism says tourist arrivals in South Africa continues to grow unabated.

The department said the current trend of tourist arrivals in the country has in the last few months shown consistent growth, with a total of 822,416 tourist arrivals that were recorded for July 2016.

This, according to the department, is an increase of 12.2% (89,525 tourist arrivals) compared to the same month of the previous year.

“There was an increase of 131,002 tourists in July 2016 compared to the same month in 2015. This brings the total tourist arrivals for the period January-July 2016, to 5,791,504, which is an increase of 14.9% (751,388 tourist arrivals) compared to the same period of the previous year,” said the department.

The department’s Director-General Victor Tharage said this can only serve to motivate both government and the tourism industry to increase its efforts in terms of marketing the country as a value for money destination, ensuring that once tourists arrive, they receive excellent service across the board.

“We are greatly encouraged that all regions are experiencing an increase in tourist arrivals,” he said.

When comparing July 2016 with July 2015, the department said, the increase in tourist arrivals for Asia increased by 47.7%, followed by Middle East (35.1), North America (26.1%), Central and South America (24.4%), Europe (17.5%), and Australasia (16.4%).

The department said the least increase was recorded in Africa including Indian Ocean Islands (9%).

The department said all South Africa’s major overseas markets performed well in July 2016.

“Amongst traditional overseas markets, the United States of America (USA) grew by 19.8%, while Germany increased by 21.1% and the United Kingdom (UK) by 11.7% from January-July 2016.

“Even non-traditional source markets also experienced growth during the same period, such as India by 28.1% and China by 63.7%,” said the department.

The department said Lesotho was the largest African source market, while USA was the largest overseas source market for South Africa.

Compared to July 2015, the department said, the Netherlands moved from the 9th to 8th as a source market, replacing Namibia. China replaced India by moving from 16th place to become South Africa’s 15th source market. Belgium replaced Italy, becoming South Africa’s 18th source market.

For overseas markets, the department said the highest increase in tourists was from China by 64% moving from 5,402 in July 2015 to 8,858 in 2016.

It said France also had an additional 3,520 tourists visiting South Africa in July 2016 compared to July 2015, which is a 40% increase.

The department said Lesotho experienced the highest increase for the African markets with an additional 37,404 tourists, which is a 29.9% increase from July 2015.

Source: Nam News Network