In 2021, the US became South Africa's number one overseas tourism source market for the first time ever after the UK held the top spot since 1994, according to a new report by SA Tourism (SAT).
The 14% increase in arrivals from the US (82 020 in 2021, compared to 2020) was also the biggest growth among SA's top source markets. Revenue from US arrivals – mostly first-time visitors to SA and people over 45 – totalled R2.3 billion in 2021, which was the highest of all source markets.
The impact of the pandemic on international arrivals can be seen from 2019. Pre-pandemic data showed that the US was SA's second biggest tourism source market, with 373 694 arrivals, compared to 436 559 from the UK and 322 720 from Germany.