South Africa:Tourism Shows Huge Growth Potential
By Tamar Kahn
The South African tourism industry which currently contributes R95 billion to the country's Gross Domestic Product, is showing more potential for growth having grown six percent in the early in the last seven years.
This is according to experts speaking on investment in tourism in the country at the Trade and Investment South Africa Conference which is currently underway in Durban's International Convention Centre.
Looking at tourism investment opportunities in South Africa, Yunis Hoosen, Director of investment, promotion and facilitation at the Department of Trade and Industry said the industry had since seen significant growth since 1994.
There has been an average growth rate of six percent in the last five years, hitting a 15 percent mark in 2006.
The country has also seen strong and consistent growth in foreign tourist arrivals which reached eight million last year.
"African arrivals currently account for 72 percent of all foreign tourists to South Africa, enhancing the view that South Africa serves as a gateway to the continent," Mr Hoosen said.
"Strong growth rates can also be seen from major non-African markets," he added.
"The South African Tourism 2007 Indaba report indicates that domestic travel increased by 2.6 percent with 37 million domestic trips undertaken. The report shows that in 2006, 29.1 percent of the tourists were visiting friends and relatives.
"The report further indicates that the revenue from domestic tourism was approximately R16.5 billion in 2006 with visiting friends and relatives generating two thirds of this," said Mr Hoosen.
He outlined the recent highlights in 2006 in the tourism industry, such as the sale of Cape Town's V&A Waterfront to a Dubai-based investment consortium for $1 billion.
Other highlights included the expansion in the domestic air-travel market with the launch a new carrier, Mango and a further investment by Avis International of approximately 8 000 new passenger vehicles.
General Manager of Business Development, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal James Hlongwa, said the past five year had seen an investment of over R5 billion in the province's tourism industry.
However, the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be an important step in growing tourism far beyond the event. "Our challenge is to find out how to use the world cup to develop tourism further in KwaZulu-Natal," said Hlongwa.
Making a presentation on the same subject, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tsogo Sun, Jabu Mabuza, said 2007 had been a record year in hotel occupancy rates in South Africa.