Foreign arrivals to SA plunge 71% due to Covid-19

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The international market still has a lot of questions, ranging from changing travel requirements in their own country to safety whilst on vacation. (Getty)
The international market still has a lot of questions, ranging from changing travel requirements in their own country to safety whilst on vacation. (Getty)
  • Statistics SA released its Tourism 2020 report on Thursday.
  • It shows the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on foreign arrivals in the country.
  • The impact was mainly due to lockdown regulations.


Foreign arrivals to South Africa dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020, according to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa on Thursday. 

The report says it is evident that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed.

About 74.8% of the tourists who arrived in South Africa in 2020 were residents of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. Zimbabwe remained the leading SADC country in terms of tourist visits. In 2020, 1.5% of tourists were from other African countries apart from the SADC region. Nigeria was the leading country for tourists to SA in this category.

Residents of overseas countries made up 23.6% of the tourists.

In 2020, tourists from the United Kingdom topped the overseas visitor list. Australia had the largest percentage decrease of overseas visitors to SA.

Overall, travel for a holiday continued to be the main reason for visits to South Africa, according to the report.

Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities James Vos said the latest report from Stats SA showing the effects of the global pandemic on tourism makes for sobering reading.

"While tourism markets across the globe were similarly hard hit, other countries have started opening up because of their vaccine rollout, so too must national government fast-track South Africa's initiative so that we can better instil confidence that travellers to our shores will have a safe and healthy visit," Vos commented on Thursday.

He is "cautiously optimistic" about reports that tourism sector frontline workers might be prioritised for vaccinations.

Latest campaign

Also on Thursday, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro), in partnership with the Western Cape Government, launched the latest international tourism campaign.

"Get in a Good Space" is a digital campaign geared to keep the destination top of the travel consideration list by demonstrating how the region is the perfect antidote to lockdown life.

"The international market still has a lot of questions, ranging from changing travel requirements in their own country to safety whilst on vacation. They're still in a 'dream phase' as they emerge with cautious optimism out of a hard lockdown," says Wesgro's Chief Marketing Officer Monika Iuel. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
USD/ZAR
14.18
-1.4%
GBP/ZAR
19.71
-1.4%
EUR/ZAR
17.12
-0.8%
AUD/ZAR
11.04
-0.8%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
-1.2%
Gold
1,815.32
+1.6%
Silver
27.32
+3.1%
Palladium
2,950.04
-0.9%
Platinum
1,255.50
+2.1%
Brent Crude
68.96
+0.1%
Top 40
61,706
+0.3%
All Share
67,609
+0.4%
Resource 10
69,984
-0.5%
Industrial 25
86,103
+0.5%
Financial 15
12,567
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 1383 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 3434 votes
My landlord refused
27% - 1825 votes
Vote