tourism plays a huge role in South Africa’s economy, international tourists aren’t the only ones taking advantage of our gorgeous tourist destinations. Unlike international tourists, however, locals steer clear of safari holidays in favour of coastal comforts.
Says Dawn Nathan-Jones, CEO of Europcar: “This year, domestic tourism contributed R5.2bn to the economy in the first quarter. This is up 13% compared to the same period last year.”
According to Nathan-Jones, South Africans prefer shorter weekend getaways to year-end holidays. “People no longer save for a longer holiday. Nowadays domestic tourists opt for shorter breaks when disposable income is readily available.”
While international tourist arrivals grew by 10.5% in the first quarter of 2012, the increase in international arrivals hasn’t had any real impact on the tourism industry. Nathan-Jones cites the global economic downturn as the main culprit.
“During last year’s peak season we picked up that international inbound tourists only booked their year-end holidays in December. This yea r, ca r r enta l s returned to long lead bookings, but not in the same volume as before the economic downturn,” she says.