SA Tourism boosted by Visa red tape reduction

South Africa’s tourism industry remained resilient, and the relaxation of visa requirements last year buoyed overall revenue to R15.8billion with a 12.2percent rise in room occupancy. This is according to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) annual hotels outlook, which covered South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania.

PwC hospitality industry leader Pietro Calicchio said the increase in revenue was largely aided by international tourists who had visited the country last year.

Calicchio said international visitor numbers to South Africa rebounded significantly last year, with a 12.8percent increase, compared with a 6.8percent decrease in 2015.

“This was mainly due to the relaxation of visa requirements that contributed to the growth in foreign tourism,” Calicchio said, adding that the firm forecast that hotel room revenue would grow 10.1percent to R17.5bn this year.

The report also found that Southern African Development Community countries contributed 73percent of the visitors to South Africa during the period under review, while travellers from China and India increased 38percent and 21.7percent respectively.

It said the the largest number of foreign visitors to South Africa last year came from Zimbabwe, at 2million, followed by Lesotho, at 1.8million, and Mozambique, at 1.3million.

The survey projected that Nigeria would be the fastest-growing market from a revenue perspective over the next five years, with a projected compound annual increase in revenue of 14.7percent.

Read more

Source: Independent Online