“The tourism sector in South Africa is ready to capitalise on the success of the World Cup and the invaluable branding exposure our destination has enjoyed over the past few weeks,” Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the Minister of Tourism, said today.
“The World Cup was never an end in itself, but a milestone in the growth trajectory of our tourism sector. And what a significant milestone it has been! It concludes years of hard work and lays a solid basis for a new decade of growth and development.
“The tournament exposed the rich diversity of our tourism assets to a worldwide television audience with a cumulative estimated 32 billion viewers. In addition, it has introduced our country to non-traditional markets, including those in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.
“Our tourism industry is geared to make the most of the opportunities created by the World Cup. The championship will be recorded in the history books as one of the best showcases ever for South Africa and Africa and I am convinced it has opened up the door to our destination to scores of new visitors,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
Tourism growth in 2010
The latest tourist arrival figures for 2010 show that more than 1.9 million (1 916 544) tourists arrived in South Africa from January to March 2010, compared to just under 1.6 million (1 585 642) during the same period last year. This represents growth of 20.9% for the comparable period and outpaces many of our competitors.
During this period, tourists arrivals were up from all our major source markets, with growth of 7.6% from Europe, 7.8% from North America, 28.5% from Central and South America, 6.2% from Australasia, 21.9% from Asia, 16.5% from the Middle East and 25.6% from within the continent.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) international tourist arrivals increased by 7% in the first four months of 2010, which signifies a good recovery from the depressed conditions experienced in 2009.
The UNWTO foresees a positive outlook for the rest of the year, with forecasted year-on-year global growth of up to 4% as events such as the World Cup boost tourism.
“South Africa’s tourism arrivals for the first quarter of the year exceeded our expectations, and we are confident the World Cup will help us achieve our ambitious growth targets for 2010,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
It is important to note that the figures are based on improved methodologies which now allow us to distinguish between total foreign arrivals to South Africa and tourist arrivals. The figures released as of January 2010 do not include day visitors, thereby contributing to a better understanding of our tourism industry and its contribution to the economy.
Tourism and the World Cup
Over the last few years, South African Tourism (SAT) made significant investments in marketing and advertising our destination, amongst others through various global media deals. The purpose was to entrench South Africa’s excellent growth as a tourism destination and to differentiate the country from competitor destinations.
The total investment in these campaigns was approximately US$ 100 million over the four years running up to the World Cup and it is estimated to have reached 1.9 billion people every month in our key target markets.
“This investment in marketing and advertising by SAT is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the positive reporting on South Africa as a country and a tourism destination that has flooded global media channels since the kick off of the Word Cup on 11 June,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
“We were always confident that our country and our people would show the world what a superb destination we offer, and yet the overwhelming positive international coverage has surpassed even our most optimistic expectations. The goodwill that has been unlocked cannot be measured in monetary terms.”
In addition to growing our status as a world-class leisure tourism destination, we are also positioning South Africa as one of the best sport, mega event and conferencing destinations in the world. The National Event and Convention Bureau, proposed by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and currently being discussed with the industry, can become an important spoke in this wheel.
“We are not resting on our laurels and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the positivity around South Africa as a destination translates into more visitors, more spend, more economic growth and more jobs in the tourism sector,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
A responsible approach to measuring the impacts of the World Cup
Minister van Schalkwyk also noted that in terms of the measurement of the impact of the World Cup on tourism and the economy, the NDT would be following a responsible approach based on sound statistical analysis.
“One could easily be tempted to release data in a random and ad hoc way, but in the tourism sector we understand that trends and impacts need to be properly analysed in order to have a sound basis for future planning. Responding to anecdotal evidence will not take us forward.
“Government will be taking the lead in observing due process in this regard and will rely on the data collected, analysed and released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and SAT. We would caution against premature impact analysis based on ad hoc and anecdotal sources. Some of the figures recently released did not, for example, distinguish between actual tourists and day visitors from neighbouring countries visiting South Africa for reasons other than tourism,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
The trend and impact analysis of the World Cup on tourism, of which the results are expected in the fourth quarter of 2010, will be critical in building a proper understanding of the impacts of major events on the tourism industry and the wider economy. The results will enable tourism role players to make informed decisions when preparing for future mega events.
The information to be used for analysis at national level will be collected through the Tourism Departure Survey conducted by SAT and weighted against the total number of tourist arrivals to be released by Stats SA for the same period.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is the main primary source of the total number of arrivals and departure of foreign and South African travellers. The consolidated data is then sent to Stats SA for further processing.
Other tourism related information not collected by the DHA is collected through the Departure Survey conducted by SAT on a monthly basis. The methodology of this survey has been certified by Stats SA and it is also used to calculate the official contribution of tourism to the economy of the country.
The NDT and SAT will be collecting tourism information for the impact analysis through the departure survey conducted during June and July 2010. Relevant World Cup questions were included in the departure survey questionnaire for this purpose.
The results will only be released once Stats SA has released the total arrival statistics for June and July 2010. As in all other countries it is normal practice to allow two to three months before the release of statistics in order to ensure data cleaning and analysis.