StatsSA reveals impressive growth in South Africa’s tourism sector: Overseas arrivals surge by 73%

StatsSA this week released  the Tourism & Migration report for June and Tourist Accommodation reports for May 2023

For the first six months of the year overseas arrivals to South Africa increased by 73% with 983 814 overseas arrivals recorded, compared to 567 158 overseas visitors in 2022. Total arrivals to South Africa increased by 78,2  with 4 073 700 arrivals recorded, up from 2 285 746 during the same period last year.

During the first six months of the year, the UK was South Africa’s top source market with 179 693 (121 673 in 2022) visitors. The UK is followed by the United States with 174 403 (105 201 in 2022) arrivals and Germany with 122 797 (68 433 in 2022) arrivals. Other top performing markets in the first six months include:

  • France: 56 413 arrivals
  • The Netherlands:  54 083 arrivals
  • India: 41 668 arrivals
  • Australia: 41 620 arrivals
  • Canada: 26 983 arrivals
  • Switzerland: 19 832 arrivals
  • China: 16 215 arrivals

In June 2023, 2 311 573 travellers (arrivals, departures, and transits) passed through South Africa’s ports of entry/exit. They were made up of 701 989 South African residents and 1 609 584 foreign travellers. Foreign arrivals, 851 647 were made up of 26 054 non-visitors and 825 593 visitors. The visitors consisted of 217 274 same-day visitors and 608 319 overnight visitors (tourists). The breakdown of the tourists by region is as follows: 123 069 from overseas; 475 358 from the SADC countries; 8 948 from ‘other’ African countries and the country of residence of 944 tourists were classified as unspecified.

In June 2023, overseas tourists were 123 069 or 20,2% of all tourists. USA (36 032), UK (15 461) and India (8 495) contributed 48,7% to overseas tourists. Southern African Development Community (SADC) tourists were 475 358 or 78,1% of all tourists. Zimbabwe (156 700), Mozambique (104 152) and Lesotho (88 025) contributed 73,4% to SADC tourists. ‘Other’ African countries (non-SADC) tourists were 8 948 or 1,5% of all tourists. Kenya (2 844), Nigeria (1 380) and Ghana (954) contributed 57,9% to ‘other’ African tourists. The country of residence of 944 (0,2%) tourists was classified as unspecified.

Source: StatsSA June Tourism  & Migration Report

StatsSA’s May Report: Tourism Accommodation Industry

In May 2023, the industry’s total income saw a substantial increase of 21.0% compared to May 2022, measured in nominal terms (current prices). The surge in income from accommodation was particularly noteworthy, experiencing 30.2% year-on-year growth. The rise was attributed to an 8.2% increase in the number of stay unit nights sold and a notable 20.4% increase in the average income per stay unit night sold.

The major contributors to the 30.2% year-on-year increase in income from accommodation were hotels, contributing 30.8% and 15.5 percentage points, as well as other accommodation facilities, contributing 34.7% and 14.4 percentage points.

Looking at a broader trend, income from accommodation showed a 32.4% increase in the three months ending May 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. This sustained growth was primarily driven by hotels, which recorded a remarkable 34.4% increase, contributing 17.1 percentage points, and other accommodation facilities, with a notable 33.1% increase and 13.8 percentage points contribution.

The positive trend continued with seasonally adjusted income from accommodation, demonstrating a steady rise of 13.6% month-on-month in May 2023. This followed a 4.1% increase in April 2023, showcasing the industry’s resilience and strong performance.

Source: StatsSA Tourism Accommodation Report – May 2023


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