Boosted by visa waivers, South African tourism sees record 2.4 million arrivals in Q12024

Ghana sees 249.4 pc leap, India remains significant market: Statistics South Africa
2024-05-15
/
/ New Delhi
South African tourism
Boosted by visa waivers, South African tourism sees record 2.4 million arrivals in Q12024

From January to March 2024, South Africa welcomed 2.4 million international tourists

Buoyed by visa waivers for select African countries, South African tourism sector has recorded increase in tourist arrivals from many nations, including Ghana on top which saw a 249.4 pc surge.
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With 2.4 million international visitors just from January to March 2024, South Africa’s tourism sector is experiencing a boom fuelled by the recent removal of visa requirements for travellers from select African countries.

According to a press statement by Statistics South Africa, there has been a remarkable surge in international arrivals, signalling a promising trajectory for the industry. From January to March 2024, South Africa welcomed 2.4 million international tourists, reflecting a notable 15.4 pc increase compared to the same period in 2023.

Of significance is the substantial rise in arrivals from African nations, constituting 74.5 pc of all international arrivals, the statement says.

It adds that Ghana stands out with an extraordinary 249.4 pc surge in tourist arrivals to South Africa from January to March 2024, attributed to the visa waiver scheme implemented in November 2023. This initiative allows for visa-free travel between Ghana and South Africa for up to 90 days, fostering enhanced business and tourism opportunities.

The statement adds that Kenyan travellers have benefitted from visa-free access to South Africa since January 2023, resulting in a 99 pc increase in arrivals compared to 2022. The impact of visa-free travel, coupled with targetted marketing campaigns, has propelled Kenya into a significant source market for South Africa, with arrivals reaching 42,403 in 2023.

Beyond the African continent, international visitors from the Americas and Europe have also contributed to the tourism surge, says the statement. It adds that increases in arrivals were also recorded from North America, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia, reflecting the diverse appeal of South Africa as a travel destination.

Asian markets have emerged as key drivers of growth, witnessing a 25.4 pc increase in arrivals from January to March 2024 compared to the previous year.

China notably recorded an 82 pc increase in arrivals, underscoring the country’s growing interest in South Africa’s offerings. Despite a slight dip compared to 2023, India remains a significant market for South Africa’s tourism sector

The statement adds that removal of visa barriers, combined with strategic marketing initiatives, has positioned South Africa as an attractive destination for global travellers. As the tourism industry continues to rebound and evolve, stakeholders remain optimistic about the sector’s resilience and future prospects.

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