The tourism sector recovery has gained incredible momentum, and this is visible in South Africa’s tourism performance in the first half of 2022.
Speaking at the launch of Tourism Month, at !Khwa ttu, in the Western Cape on September 04, Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu once again lauded the sector for the incredible 2022 tourism performance, thus far. This performance is testament to the strides South Africa’s tourism sector has made to reinvent itself and to once again draw visitors into the country.
In the first half of the year, 15.2 million domestic trips were taken, marking a 114% increase when compared to the same period in 2021. This is way above the same period in 2019, which saw 8.6 million domestic trips taken.
“This year’s Tourism Month celebrations are incredibly special because we are recognising how far we have come as a sector, in spite of everything we have been through in the last few years,” said Sisulu.
Sisulu said the sector is also seeing a steady rebound of business events, with South African Tourism having successfully hosted their flagship shows; Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba in person this year.
Tourism Month is in line with South Africa’s vision to ignite inclusive economic growth, sustainable job creation and transformation which are all critical for the industry. Tourism month is a time that the tourism industry places a focused approach on domestic tourism, engaging and collaborating as the greater tourism sector to grow domestic tourism.
Tourism Month is celebrated in the same month that the UN World Tourism Organisation celebrates World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27 each year. The theme for this year is “Rethinking Tourism’, compelling the sector to reimagine itself, following the pandemic.
“This theme is fitting, as the world over, the tourism sector is being reimagined, following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This theme is also symbolic because as a sector, the pandemic required us to step back, relook the industry as we know it, and ultimately, see how we rebuild it,” Sisulu continued.
Annually, Tourism Month celebrations are held in a different province, to make a contribution to the local economy of the host province.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said he is honoured that the Western Cape has been chosen as the host province for this year’s Tourism Month celebrations.
“Tourism is a major economic driver in the Western Cape, which we have optimally harnessed to continue fuelling economic growth and job creation and the sustained recovery in this sector since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions has shown just how important tourism is to the Western Cape, and the rest of the country,” said Winde.
Winde added that tourist arrivals into Cape Town continue to show impressive recovery. “July 2022’s performance showed that passengers arriving through the CTIA’s international terminal reached a recovery rate of 87% when compared to the same period in 2019. This is the highest recovery rate over the last five months. This is very promising and bodes well for peak tourist periods such as the festive season,” he added.
September is also the month when South African Tourism’s Sho’t Left Travel Week takes place, from 5-11 September 2022. During this week, participating tourism businesses offer travellers up to 50% off tour packages and tourism-related products and services. These deals must be bought during this week but can be redeemed at any other time depending on the partner’s terms and conditions.
Minister Sisulu thanked the tourism trade for being part of Travel Week. She also thanked South Africans for keeping the tourism sector going, during the difficult times. Minister Sisulu encouraged South Africans to take advantage of these discounted rates to go out and explore all the beauty that this country has to offer.
“We have sent out an invitation to the world to come and ‘Live Again’ with us, and I’d like to extend this invitation to you, to go out and book your next Sho’t Left, go out and enjoy your wondrous country,” she concluded.