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People are waking up to South Africa’s tourism offerings, with the increase in tourist arrivals in the country outperforming the global market by more than 8 percent.
JOBURG played a pivotal in hosting the more than 8 million tourists who arrived in the country last year, compared to just over 7 million visitors a year before.


World Cup stimulated tourist arrivals in the countryThe World Cup stimulated tourist arrivals in the country, says Minister Marthinus van SchalkwykAccording to figures released by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourist arrivals in South Africa increased by 15,1 percent in 2010, outperforming the global market by more than 8 percent. South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup only contributed about 4 percent to the overall number of tourist arrivals.

“We are delighted with these strong growth figures, particularly as it comes so soon after a global economic recession,” said Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The UNWTO is an agency of the United Nations specialising in promoting the development of sustainable and universally accessible tourism with a focus on the interests of developing countries.

Van Schalkwyk acknowledged that the rise in tourist arrivals was stimulated when South Africa hosted the World Cup during the months of June and July 2010, which was traditionally a low tourist season in South Africa.

The World Cup was not only a particular highlight for the country but was also a victory for the entire tourism industry, especially in Johannesburg, a key host city. It played an essential role in ensuring that the month-long football showpiece was successful, hosting the opening and final matches, the opening and closing ceremonies, and several group stage matches.

Before the football tournament, however, spending by Visa cardholders increased to about $566-million (about R4,28-billion) in the first quarter of the year. Travellers spent $1,79-billion in the full 12 months while visiting the country.

Big spenders
The major spenders came from the United Kingdom, with a total spend of about $25,3-million; visitors from the United States spent $25,2-million, Australians contributed $6,2-million, the French spent $4,7-million, Brazilians spent about $4,1-million and Germans spent $3,9-million, or about R30-million.


Melville: a tourist hotspotMelville: a tourist hotspotIn addition, profit margins soared for many Joburg restaurants during the tournament, with some registering an increase of more than 80 percent in visitor numbers and revenue. This was in stark contrast to previous winter seasons and was a boon for the local economy.

In the trendy suburb of Melville, for example, which is known for its nightlife, the owner of Lucky Bean, Conway Falconer, said all restaurants in the suburb had enjoyed very good business during the World Cup.

“The tourism sector did an excellent job of hosting hundreds of thousands of guests and contributed to ensuring unprecedented global exposure for our beautiful destination and its hospitable people,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He added that the legacy of the World Cup would always be the major boost it gave to the tourism industry, which had helped to entrench a buoyant environment for sustainable investment and growth in the sector.

“With positive growth and the opportunity to tap into a number of potential new markets, South Africa is well-poised to continue delivering its unique combination of experiences to an increasing number of international travellers going forward,” he said.

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