by Simon Capstick-Dale

SA's tourism stats for 2012

Flying the flag

SA's tourism stats for 2012
SA's tourism stats for 2012

Tourists spent nearly R80 billion in South Africa last year as the number of foreign visitors surpassed 9 million people, said President Jacob Zuma at the announcement of the Annual Tourist Arrival Statistics at the V&A Waterfront.

9 188 365 tourists visited the country last year which presented a 10.2% increase from the previous year's figures. This increase was more than double the global average in tourism growth, estimated at just around 4% by the UN World Health Organisation.

Zuma credited South Africa's impressive tourism figures to the establishment of a Department of Tourism in 2009, "a sound foreign policy" and the country's ability to successfully host international events.

He attributed this growth to the fact that the South African government regards tourism as one of the six "job drivers" along with mining, manufacturing, the green economy, infrastructure development and agriculture.

The government aims to put the country among the top 20 tourist destinations by 2020. Their strategy has two main objectives, namely creating 225 000 additional jobs and contributing about half a trillion rand to the country's Gross Domestic Product by 2020.

It's not all good news though as the duration of tourists' stay in our country dipped from 8.5 nights in 2011 to 7.6 nights last year.

At the release event of the Annual Tourist Arrival Statistics Zuma also said that "God lives in Cape Town" relaying a story a man from Ugandan told him about how beautiful he thought the city was.

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