Finweek English Edition - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

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