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South Africa tourism market: Growth expected between 2012-17
Travel and Tourism in South Africa to 2017 - a new market research report on 2014-03-31 03:12:01
The travel and tourism sector in South Africa is expected to record growth during the forecast period. Tourism will flourish with an increase in both domestic and international tourist volumes, supported by the efforts of South Africa Tourism to promote the country as a key tourism destination both domestically and in Africa. The government is also aiming to improve transport infrastructure in the country.

In 2011, the National Department of Tourism drafted a National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism. The NTSS aims to accelerate the growth of the tourism industry between 2010 and 2020 to realize South Africa´s tourism potential and turn the country into one of the top 20 global tourism destinations by 2020.

South Africa has a variety of tourist attractions such as world heritage sites, cultural diversification (ranging from the Zulus to the descendants of colonial settlers), distinctive art forms, music and traditional rituals. South Africa also has abundant sites of great archaeological significance such as Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai.

South Africa Tourism (SAT) launched a domestic tourism promotion campaign, ´Whatever you are looking for, it´s right here in South Africa´ as a part of its Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy in May 2012. With the campaign, SAT not only aims to stimulate holidaying culture among South African residents, but also encourage them to holiday within the country.

The FIFA World Cup was the major contributing factor for an increase in inbound tourist arrivals in 2010, with inbound arrivals increasing by 15.1% during the year. Tourist arrivals from North America rose 27.0% in 2010, while arrivals from South and Central America increased by 92.3%.

The South African rand strengthened against other currencies such as the US dollar and British pound during late 2010 and early 2011. The strengthening of the rand made it easier for South Africans to holiday abroad, leading to high outbound tourist volumes from the country during the review period. However, the recent weakening of the rand against the US dollar may weaken the prospects of growth in outbound travel.

The state-owned SAA, one of the major airlines in the African region, provides both full-service and low-cost services. Prior to the economic deregulation of the airline industry in South Africa in 1991, SAA dominated with a 95% market share. Following deregulation, Comair entered the market in 1992, and signed a franchise agreement with British Airways in 1996.

To stimulate tourism and improve infrastructure in the country, the South African government has given its consent for the construction of two new projects in the Kruger National Park. The first, a five-star, Radisson Blu Safari Resort near the Malelane Gate with a capacity of 120 rooms, is expected to be operational in 2013. The second project is Skukuza Conference Lodge at the Skukuza Rest Camp, with a capacity of 125 rooms.

The South African car rental market is facing tough competition in terms of price and services, with around 10 major car rental companies fighting for market share. In addition to the major car rental operators, hundreds of smaller local and regional competitors also operate in South Africa. The industry is also experiencing challenges such as the imposition of tolls on Gauteng´s highways and the introduction of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system in 2011.

In January 2010, one of the country´s largest online travel price comparison and booking sites, Travelstart, posted a boost of 70% in travel sales. This was primarily driven by the increase in popularity of online bookings among South African travelers, who found it easier, and often more economical, to explore and evaluate flights, hotels and car rentals online. According to Internet World Stats, the internet penetration rate in South Africa increased from 10.5% in 2008 to 17.4% in June 2012.

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