For overseas markets, South Africa saw the highest increase in tourist arrivals from China by 64 percent for July 2016, the Department of Tourism has said.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Africa increased from 5,402 in July 2015 to 8,858 in July this year, the department said in its latest update on tourism arrivals.
China replaced India by moving from 16th place to become South Africa’s 15th source market, said Victor Tharage, Director-General of the Department of Tourism.
This came after South Africa relaxed visa regulations, allowing tour operators to apply for visas for Chinese tourists.
When comparing July 2016 with July 2015, the increase in tourist arrivals for the following regions are: Asia increased by 47.7 percent, followed by Middle East (35.1 percent), North America (26.1 percent), Central and South America (24.4 percent), Europe (17.5 percent), Australia (16.4 percent). The least increase was recorded in Africa including Indian Ocean Islands (nine percent).
Lesotho was the largest African source market, while the USA was the largest overseas source market for South Africa. Compared to July 2015, the Netherlands moved from the 9th to 8th as a source market replacing Namibia.
“We are greatly encouraged that all regions are experiencing an increase in tourist arrivals,” said Tharage.
“This can only serve to motivate both government and the tourism industry to increase its efforts in terms of marketing the country as a value for money destination, ensuring that once tourists arrive, they receive excellent service across the board,” he said.