SA tourist arrivals

Foreign arrivals in South Africa reached their highest level ever in 2013 as the country's international tourist numbers approached the 10-million mark, the Department of Tourism announced.

Tourist arrivals to South Africa showed positive growth from all regions in 2013, the department said, including good growth out of Europe, its largest overseas market for tourists.

European tourist arrivals increased by 7% year-on-year, with double-digit growth from Germany (14.2%), France (10.3%) and Italy (10.6%).

However, South Africa's largest overseas source market, the UK, grew by a modest 1% in 2013.

Arrivals from the rest of Africa grew by 4% year-on-year, with arrivals by air growing by 12%.

A total of 417 582 North American arrivals were recorded in 2013, the US market remains a major focus of SA global marketing efforts as growth have been seen out of this market in recent years.

Asia and Central and South America continued to record good growth on top of the exceptional levels witnessed in 2012, in which these markets grew by 34% and 37% respectively.

China, South Africa's fourth-largest source market for tourist arrivals for the second year in a row, continued to perform, growing by 14.7% in 2013. Arrivals out of India tempered in 2013, growing by 5.5%.

Central and South American tourist arrivals numbers grew by 8% to reach 129 463. Brazil remains by far the biggest market out of this region growing by close to 5.6% to reach 82 802 tourist arrivals.

South African Tourism is increasing its marketing efforts in Brazil, having appointed a marketing agency in the country earlier this year and will, for the first time ever, take a delegation of South African exhibitors to the ABAV travel trade show in Sao Paulo, the largest travel trade fair in the Americas.

Australasian tourist arrivals to South Africa grew by 4.0% in 2013, with 148 660 tourist arrivals recorded.