Published on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Demand for international tourism remained strong in 2016, in spite of global challenges, threats to tourism and increase of terrorist activities. Besides, there were unstable financial conditions and Brexit and growing political hostility. According to the latest World Tourism Organization UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals in the world grew by 3.9% to reach a total of 1 235 million in 2016. This means that around 46 million more tourists, which included overnight visitors travelled internationally in 2016 compared to 2015. 2016 also marked the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.
South Africa is completely in tune with this global tourism trend, as tourism in the country is on a continual upward curve. Speaking at a press conference in Pretoria, Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba said that SA offers a safe travel destination for international visitors. To quote Gigaba, “People feel safe when they come here. Besides what SA offers as a tourism destination, it remains relatively isolated from the global turbulence that has occurred in other countries in the past year.
South Africa has remained relatively isolated from incidents like the tragedy in Germany, and a lot of other countries that have also experienced terrorism.” SA is also tapping into growing tourism destinations like China. It is exploring ways to entice the Chinese market and their tourism officials are honing their Mandarin language skills for better facilitating Chinese travel to SA.
According to Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Chief, “Tourism has shown extraordinary strength and resilience in recent years, despite many challenges, particularly those related to safety and security. Yet, international travel continues to grow strongly and contribute to job creation and the wellbeing of communities around the world.”
Tags: South Africa