By Chris Bradley
South Africa saw a growth in tourism in 2010 with record breaking figures showing a huge improvement. It has improved even further in 2011 with over 8 million International tourists showing a 3.3% growth compared to the amount of visitors the previous year.
The countries Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced the 2011 figures and he explained that although the economic conditions were tough the country managed to surpass the great performance it had seen in 2010. He said that in 2010 the FIFA World Cup was a great opportunity to showcase the country and it gave them billions of dollars’ worth of free media exposure which gave them a great tourism infrastructure. He went on to explain that they continued to work hard after the event to make sure that the growth was sustained and they have also been looking for new tourism markets too. He said that the growth in tourism in 2010 was great, even taking away those visitors who were specifically there for the football and to be able to improve on that was a great achievement.
The country tends to see most tourists arriving from Europe and North America but their main growth in 2011 was from the emerging Asian markets. They also saw an increase in arrivals from other African countries. In fact they saw a decline in tourists from Europe and only a small increase in those from USA. The drop in European visitors was explained by the minister as being due to the economic situation but also air passenger duty rises in the UK affected travel from there.