SA Tourism CEO fuels the debate on stats

South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima, appointed in January 2012, has responded to the recent debate on tourism statistics, raised by Colin Bell and other leading members of the African tourism industry.Thulani Nzima refutes all criticism claiming that the stats comply with UNWTO guide lines.

“It’s problematic comparing 2008 arrivals figures with 2012 figures" he says" This is because the term ‘tourist’ was redefined in 2009 in line with globally accepted definitions of the word. Prior to this, arrival statistics counted same day ‘visitors’ to South Africa. Since 2009 this has been corrected and South African Tourism now only publishes tourists’information as defined by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

“South Africa’s growing tourist arrivals have been critically scrutinised in media reports and in letters to the media in recent months. We have investigated the data quoted in these reports and letters, and are unable to verify the figures given by the writers.

“However, South African Tourism is fully aligned with numerous other tourism bodies in South Africa like the National Department of Tourism and Statistics South Africa, who support the official tourist data as published by South African Tourism. SA Tourism’s tourist figures are available for download on our website, www.southafrica.net. Our tourist numbers reporting system is audited, correct and meets the standards of the UNWTO.” 

South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination. It is headed by CEO, Thulani Nzima, COO Timothy Scholtz, and CMO Roshene Singh.