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US is SA's biggest tourism source market, but UK looks ready to take back crown

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Visitors from the US like SA's exclusive game reserves and what they regard as affordable luxury accommodation offers. They seek wildlife, natural scenery, beaches, and adventure activities.
Visitors from the US like SA's exclusive game reserves and what they regard as affordable luxury accommodation offers. They seek wildlife, natural scenery, beaches, and adventure activities.

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.

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