“South Africa’s tourists tend to be tech-savvy, rely on word-of-mouth referrals from those they trust and plan their trip well in advance”
How Many Visitors Exactly?
Despite challenging changes to child-visa legislations and a slowdown in travellers from China, our tourism industry is a considerable economy booster. According to research complied by Candice Winterboer (owner of Alfalfa Content Generator, a company that specializes in online content for businesses and agencies) approximately 2.254 million tourists visit South Africa each year from countries outside the African continent, and that an additional 543 806 visitors fly in from other African countries (predominantly in the SADC region).
Candice’s research reveals that South Africa’s tourists tend to be tech-savvy, rely on word-of-mouth referrals from those they trust and plan their trip well in advance. They also expect excellent customer service and European-standard facilities. This makes sense when we look at the infographic and see that the top seven visiting countries are Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia and Switzerland.
Business and Educational Tourists Play an Important Role
According to Candice, while 75% of tourists come here on holiday, those who fly in for either business (11%) or to study (3%) are equally deserving of our industry attention. At 247 940 and 67 620 people respectively, the conferencing and adventure-sports niches should sit up and take notice!
How Much are Tourists Spending Per Day?
The average daily spend per tourist works out at R1 189 per day, excluding accommodation and flights, and favoured activities and things to do include: nature and the outdoors, food and wine, history and heritage, arts and culture, beaches, and sports and adventure. An event such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour, for example, attracts 2 000 foreign cyclists each year; and these numbers surely double when family members and supporters are tallied up.
How Do They Get Around?
Self-drive holidays are also becoming increasingly popular. Candice advises guest houses to branch out with a car-hire service that has a strong web presence. Up to 30% of SA tourists prefer self-drive holidays to other forms of transport.
Also read Candice’s account of life as a business owner in Switzerland:
Online is Key
Candice recommends that savvy guest house owners and those involved in the tourism industry should reconsider the importance of their online presence. Only 22% of visitors to South Africa make use of traditional travel agencies and just 10% consult hardcopy media. Many more visitors to SA book directly through vendor sites (33%) or online travel agents (30%).
Featured Image “Tourist Girls” by photographer Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr