Tourism in South Africa continues to grow

Millions of tourists are returning to South Africa every year despite the downward trend globally, according to recent figures referenced by the country’s tourism minister.

Regions such as the Eastern Cape with its beautiful beaches and attractive scenery are thought to be one of the reasons that holidays to South Africa show no signs of losing popularity.

The country’s Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the number of tourists coming to South Africa every year is “impressive” and pointed to the many attractions South Africa has to offer as a reason to why it’s bucked the trend.

“Globally, tourism was in serious trouble because of the financial crisis but in South Africa the picture continued to look good and the numbers are impressive,” he said.

The tourists keep returning to South Africa for its rich heritage, beautiful landscapes and cultural vibrancy, but while holidaymakers enjoy their time away, they’re also boosting the country’s economy.

Mr van Schalkwyk also cited his fellow countrymen and women’s ability to make tourists feel welcome as a defining factor in why South Africa holidays are booming.

“Well-travelled locals can easily and confidently recommend to both foreign tourists and fellow South Africans the best places to visit in South Africa for the best local experiences.”

Tourism remains a major factor in the creation of new jobs and the tourist industry represents the fastest-growing sector in South Africa’s economy, much to the delight of Mr van Schalkwyk.

“In the near term, we remain cautiously optimistic about growth in international arrivals,” said the minister.

Tourist arrivals increased by 10.5 per cent during the first quarter of 2012, while overseas arrivals rose an impressive 18 per cent.

According to van Schalkwyk, tourism contributed R20 billion (£1.5 billion) to the South African economy last year.