Tourist spend shows slight increase

2012-09-14 08:46
Johannesburg  – South Africa’s positive tourism trend continued in 2011 despite tough global economic conditions according to Visa’s latest Tourism Outlook: South Africa report.

As the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, Visa is in a unique position to provide insight into where and how visitors are spending their money. The release of  the latest VisaVue® Travel data shows that in 2011, international visitors spent $2.2 billion on Visa cards in South Africa, a 0.7 percent year on year increase.

Mandy Lamb, Visa Country Manager for South Africa said that tourist arrivals to South Africa surpassed 8.3m people in 2011, a rise of 3 percent over 2010. “This is particularly impressive and showed South Africa has built on its success as host for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As a sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, it’s particularly satisfying for Visa to see the ongoing positive legacy. South Africa remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and we continue to support South Africa’s tourism industry.”

Where Visitors Come From


The United Kingdom, United States, Mozambique, Germany, Botswana, Australia, Angola, Namibia, France and Canada) accounted for 67.3 percent of total tourism spend in South Africa.

As in 2010, Visa account holders from the United Kingdom continued to be the largest spenders with receipts totaling $497.4 million (about R4.08 billion @R8.22/$) – although this was 7.2 percent lower year
on year.

“We are seeing the effects of a struggling UK economy at the moment,” noted Lamb.

After the UK, the biggest spenders in SA are, in order, the US ($306.6m), Mozambique ($124.2), Germany ($105.3), Botswana ($97.1m), Australia ($77.4m), Angola ($73.1m), Namibia ($72m), France ($69.4m) and Canada ($64m).

Angola however has the largest individual transaction size with $220.53, followed by France at $159.42 and Australia $158.36.

A major contributor to the growth in tourism arrivals was the 14.6 percent increase in the number of tourists from emerging Asian markets.

Visitor arrivals from China and India to South Africa surged in 2011, up 24 percent to 84,883 and 26 percent to 90,367, respectively.

Chinese tourists spent $51.6 million in 2011, 34.4 percent higher year on year. The average transaction was 48.7 percent higher at $449.03.

Said Lamb: “The world is experiencing growing numbers of Asian tourists thanks to their strong economies, but these impressive results are also testament to the marketing efforts of SA Tourism.”

Where tourist money is spent

In 2011 the top three merchant segments for spend mirrored that of the previous year.

Visa account holders spent $817.6 million in the ‘Remaining merchants ’ category (up 0.5 percent) which includes spend in banks and ATM withdrawals, $375 million in the ‘Other retail’ segment which includes spend in general retail merchandise such as clothing, confections, wine, antiques and jewelry (up 4.5 percent) and ‘Accommodation’ $278.4 million (down 1.4 percent).

The highest-spending countries in the ‘Remaining merchants’ category were the United Kingdom (down 6.8 percent to $223.7 million), the United States (down 10.5 percent to $105.6) and Germany (up 19.1 percent to $46.5 million).

High season

South Africa is generally busiest during the summer months of November through March. With the local summer school holidays falling during December and January, this is a busy time at seaside resorts with families flocking to the coast.

December 2011 saw the highest value of tourism receipts in South Africa according to VisaVue Travel data, with a 0.7 percent increase in tourism receipts to $223.7 million.

The month of December also accounted for the highest number of transactions at 15 million, up 0.3 percent year on year.

Read more on:    good news  |  travel south africa
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