South Africa Tourism

South Africa's tourism industry is in the process of blossoming from a state of near-invisibility in 1992 to employing 9% of the country's workforce, accounting for $9.2bn in revenues and contributing 8.2% of GDP in 2006, with visitor numbers swelling from roughly 1m in 1992 to 8.4m in 2006.

Figures for 2006 were down from the previous year by $2.1bn, which observers attributed to a drop in shopping-oriented land arrivals, the continued strengthening of the rand and the decline in days spent per tourist. More than half of all visitors to South Africa hail from just five countries: the US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK.

The domestic market is also important, with 75% of all tourists originating from within the country. Niche market activities such as cultural, adventure and eco-tourism are being promoted, particularly in provinces outside the more frequented Gauteng and Western Cape.

Nevertheless the perception of high crime rates in South Africa may be a strong deterrent to many would-be visitors. To the future, however, the outlook for the industry looks bright, with the 2010 World Cup holding the promise of placing South Africa firmly on the tourism map and tourism and transport infrastructure being improved in time for kick-off.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008