SOUTH AFRICA

TOURISM ON THE RISE?

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Special Feature | South Africa: Tourism On The Ris - Words: NICOLE LESCHINSKY

tourism plays a vital role in South Africa, with ben­e­fits span­ning into the eco­nomic, so­cio-cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tors. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil, (WTTC) the to­tal con­tri­bu­tion of tourism to South Africa’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) was R402bn in 2016 (9.3% of GDP) and is ex­pected to grow by 2.5% to R412.2bn (9.4% of GDP) in 2017. The growth is fore­casted to rise by 4.2% per year to R624.2bn by 2027, or 11.5% of GDP. In 2016, the con­tri­bu­tion of the tourism sec­tor to em­ploy­ment in the coun­try was 1.5 mil­lion jobs, or, 9.8% of to­tal em­ploy­ment in South Africa, and growth is ex­pected to rise to 6.7% in 2017. Es­sen­tially, that means that the tourism sec­tor will con­trib­ute 1.6 mil­lion jobs or 10.2% of to­tal em­ploy­ment, and that is by no means a small per­cent­age. By 2027, in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals to South Africa are ex­pected to to­tal 19 mil­lion, with a con­tri­bu­tion of R271.3bn and an in­crease of 7.3%.

With so much rev­enue po­ten­tial, the tourism in­dus­try in South Africa has been de­scribed as an un­capped po­ten­tial. Josiah Montsho, Gen­eral Man­ager at Pep­per­club Ho­tel & Spa in Cape Town’s CBD, is en­cour­aged by the in­crease in pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling through Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port. In 2016, the air­port was vis­ited by a record-break­ing 10 mil­lion pas­sen­gers. There was an 8% year-onyear in­crease in 2016, with over 500,000 vis­i­tors in De­cem­ber alone. This is in stark con­trast to the dis­mal de­cline in 2015, which could be a re­sult of tight visa reg­u­la­tions and con­fu­sion over unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates.

“After ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the big­gest de­cline in six years in 2015 be­cause of changes to visa and im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, the in­dus­try has made an ex­cep­tional re­cov­ery,” re­marked Montsho.

Some of Cape Town’s top at­trac­tions listed record vis­i­tor fig­ures over the peak sea­son, in­clud­ing Groot Con­stan­tia, Cape Point in Ta­ble Moun­tain Na­tional Park, Kirsten­bosch Na­tional Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, Robben Is­land and Ta­ble Moun­tain Aerial Ca­ble Way.

“As South Africa of­fers in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers a va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences at an af­ford­able price, it comes as no sur­prise that the coun­try has quickly re­gained its pop­u­lar­ity. We can ex­pect this trend to con­tinue into the com­ing years – with more devel­op­ments planned to at­tract a range of trav­ellers to our shores for both busi­ness and leisure.” Montsho added. Western Cape Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment MEC, Alan Winde re­cently revealed that there are new devel­op­ments in the pipe­line that will at­tract more vis­i­tors and cre­ate thou­sands of jobs for lo­cals, such as a new tourist cy­cling route and a Madiba Legacy Route. Ad­di­tional flight routes have at­trib­uted to the suc­cess of cities like Cape Town and Dur­ban, with King Shaka pro­cess­ing 2.1 mil­lion trav­ellers in 2016. The over­whelm­ing de­mand for a year-round route to Cape Town re­sulted in Lufthansa re­cently cel­e­brat­ing

They say travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. In essence, it is the knowl­edge you gain that can­not be bought from any book­store; the once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ences that you can only be­gin to de­scribe after see­ing it with your own eyes. Post­cards and doc­u­men­taries just don’t give it the jus­tice it de­serves. South Africa, the south­ern­most tip of the African con­ti­nent, is one such place, with one of the most di­verse cul­tures, his­tory and land­scapes, it has to be seen to be un­der­stood. The peo­ple, places and awe-in­spir­ing beauty have a grav­i­ta­tional pull on any­one who has vis­ited, or left her shores.

its new direct year-round flight be­tween Frank­furt and Cape Town. The project has been im­ple­mented to im­prove air travel from Ger­many, which is the sec­ond big­gest group of for­eign vis­i­tors to South Africa after the UK, with 170,000 Ger­man tourists vis­it­ing ev­ery year. There are roughly 250,000 Ger­mans liv­ing in South Africa, with ap­prox­i­mately 600 Ger­man com­pa­nies listed, and the move by Lufthansa will as­sist in fos­ter­ing cul­tural ties be­tween the coun­tries. Emi­rates has added a third daily flight be­tween Cape Town and Dubai, and Bri­tish Air­ways has three new flights be­tween Gatwick and Cape Town. Jo­han­nes­burg is still the lead­ing air­line traf­fic re­gion, with growth at OR Tambo pro­cess­ing nearly 20.4 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2016, dou­ble that of Cape Town.

Tourism em­ploys 204,000 peo­ple in the Western Cape, and the Western Cape Gov­ern­ment aims to add an­other

100, 000 jobs un­der the Project Khulisa growth strat­egy. Winde pointed out that a key driver in grow­ing tourism in the re­gion is mak­ing it eas­ier for peo­ple to travel there.

“Since July last year, this ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity gen­er­ated R3bn in tourism spend for the Western Cape. Three thou­sand jobs are sup­ported by each reg­u­larly sched­uled long haul flight and for ev­ery 10% in­crease in pas­sen­ger num­bers, the re­gional econ­omy grows by 2%. These fig­ures il­lus­trate the value of in­creased air ac­cess,” said Winde.

En­ver Du­miny, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, de­scribed Cape Town as “truly be­com­ing a 365 des­ti­na­tion” – that is, open for busi­ness year-round and one, which has suc­cess­fully com­bat­ted the dreaded sea­son­al­ity in tourism. Part of the suc­cess can be at­trib­uted to the ‘Hello Week­end’ mar­ket­ing cam­paign and the ‘Love Your Neigh­bour­hood’ video se­ries, which show­cases city sub­urbs and en­cour­ages vis­i­tors to ‘travel like a lo­cal.’ "About 4.5% of the to­tal work­force, more than are em­ployed in the min­ing sec­tor, are in tourism. For ev­ery R100 pro­duced by the South African econ­omy, R3.10 was as a re­sult of tourism, or 3.1% of the econ­omy. Agri­cul­ture only con­trib­uted R2.40 per R100, so tourism is big­ger than agri­cul­ture.” Du­miny said.

Ac­cord­ing to the global network of lux­ury travel agen­cies, the 2017 Vir­tu­oso Luxe Re­port fore­cast­ing emerg­ing travel devel­op­ments has listed South Africa as the num­ber one world-wide des­ti­na­tion for ad­ven­ture. South Africa also re­ceived sec­ond place for best global des­ti­na­tion and fourth for top emerg­ing des­ti­na­tion. The re­port lists that ‘trav­ellers are seek­ing ad­ven­tures in less ex­plored ar­eas and ex­plor­ing new des­ti­na­tions has served as 2017’s top travel mo­ti­va­tor. Trav­ellers to­day crave ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences that are cus­tomised to their in­ter­ests and abil­i­ties, and are ven­tur­ing all over the globe to find them.’

The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum Travel and Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port 2017 lists in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals at 8,903,773, with in­bound tourist rev­enue cal­cu­lated at US $8,234.7 mil­lion, or US $924.9 spent on av­er­age per ar­rival. This equates to US $9,339.9 mil­lion of the GDP and 702,824 jobs in the tourism in­dus­try em­ployed. The com­pet­i­tive­ness re­port ranks coun­tries ac­cord­ing to their per­for­mance on a va­ri­ety of scores, in­clud­ing: In­ter­na­tional open­ness; pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of travel and tourism; safety and se­cu­rity; price com­pet­i­tive­ness; air trans­port in­fra­struc­ture; ground and port in­fra­struc­ture; tourist ser­vice in­fra­struc­ture and cul­tural re­sources, amongst oth­ers. South Africa scored 53rd out of 136 in the 2017 global

After ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the big­gest de­cline in six years in 2015 be­cause of changes to visa and im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, the in­dus­try has made an ex­cep­tional re­cov­ery.”

re­port, shift­ing from 4.1 in 2015 to an over­all score of 4.0 in a 1 – 7 scale. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, South Africa has im­proved price com­pet­i­tive­ness by re­duc­ing ticket and ho­tel prices, but de­te­ri­o­rated on safety, se­cu­rity and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. De­for­esta­tion, loss of habi­tat and lack of Gov­ern­ment support to the sec­tor re­sulted in a lower score. A ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor to poverty and crime in African coun­tries stems from un­em­ploy­ment, with the un­em­ploy­ment rate in South Africa hav­ing risen to a stag­ger­ing 27.7 per­cent in the first quar­ter of 2017. A grow­ing tourism mar­ket un­doubt­edly cre­ates jobs and it is now more im­por­tant than ever for the col­lab­o­ra­tion of the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor to fos­ter sus­tain­able tourism, com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, skills train­ing, in­tra-Africa trade and visa open­ness. The African Union re­cently launched the AU pass­port, a uni­fied, pan-African pass­port al­low­ing visa-free move­ment of do­mes­tic tourists in all 54 AU-mem­ber coun­tries. The ini­tia­tive plans to roll out dis­tri­bu­tion of the elec­tronic pass­port by the com­ing year and there is op­ti­mism that it will boost lo­cal tourism to South Africa.

To grow the tourism sec­tor and re­main glob­ally com­pet­i­tive, there should be a shift of fo­cus to sus­tain­abil­ity projects, not justin the form of eco-lodges, bute co-tourism ef­forts aimed at ad­ven­ture trav­ellers with a pur­pose, while at the same time up­lift­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Eco-travel pro­motes re­spon­si­ble tourism in an ef­fort to con­serve nat­u­ral ar­eas, min­imise the tourism im­pact and sus­tain the well-be­ing of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Hands-on eco-tour ex­pe­ri­ences have de­vel­oped the trend for vol­un­teer trav­ellers, or ‘volun-trav­ellers’ to ‘work’ at an es­tab­lish­ment and have the op­por­tu­nity to get in­volved with var­i­ous con­ser­va­tion ef­forts. Shamwari game re­serve, in the East­ern Cape, pi­o­neered a pro­gramme called, ‘The Shamwari Con­ser­va­tion Ex­pe­ri­ence,’ of­fer­ing ad­ven­ture-seek­ing trav­ellers a ‘once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity’ to get hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence in wildlife con­ser­va­tion and com­mu­nity work.

Vol­un­teers ar­rive from around the globe and par­tic­i­pate in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, from phys­i­cal tasks to re­search and wildlife mon­i­tor­ing. The par­tic­i­pa­tion comes at a price, of course, and all funds re­ceived are used for con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity of the project. There are a va­ri­ety of com-

As South Africa of­fers in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers a va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences at an af­ford­able price, it comes as no sur­prise that the coun­try has quickly re­gained its pop­u­lar­ity. We can ex­pect this trend to con­tinue into the com­ing years – with more devel­op­ments planned to at­tract a range of trav­ellers to our shores for both busi­ness and leisure.

- Josiah Montsho, Gen­eral Man­ager, Pep­per­club Ho­tel & Spa, Cape Town.

pa­nies now of­fer­ing ad­ven­ture ex­pe­ri­ences com­bined with con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, in­clud­ing ‘World­wide Ex­pe­ri­ence,’ ‘Gap Africa Projects’ and ‘The Great Projects’ and this is a trend that is shift­ing travel in­cen­tives.

The tourism in­dus­try not only pro­vides em­ploy­ment for com­mu­ni­ties, but boosts lo­cal in­dus­tries and al­lows a com­mu­nity to di­ver­sify their means of in­come. Tourism rev­enue is of­ten re­ferred to as hav­ing a mul­ti­plier ef­fect, which refers to how many times money from tourists trick­les down and cir­cu­lates through the econ­omy. For ex­am­ple, for ev­ery night that a tourist is checked into a game lodge in a re­mote part of South­ern Africa, 14 peo­ple in the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity in­di­rectly ben­e­fit from the in­come gen­er­ated. Many lodge staff send their earn­ings back home, fur­ther cir­cu­lat­ing the money into com­mu­ni­ties and help­ing to grow the lo­cal econ­omy. Tourism is one in­dus­try where money re­ally does reach far into the com­mu­nity.

Dr Sue Sny­man, a tourism an­a­lyst and econ­o­mist with UCT’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy Re­search Unit de­scribed, “For ev­ery one per­son em­ployed by these lodges, seven peo­ple ben­e­fit di­rectly from the down­stream flow of that in­come.

“This has a huge eco­nomic im­pact. These wages help to build hu­man cap­i­tal in ru­ral ar­eas where there aren’t many other eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she says. Sny­man added that it is im­per­a­tive for gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to in­vest in equip­ping lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to part­ner in tourism ven­tures, and to pro­vide the skills and train­ing needed for the part­ner­ships to work.

The well­ness travel trend is also set to change the way peo­ple travel, com­bin­ing a sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ence with yoga, med­i­ta­tion and spir­i­tu­al­ity, coined ‘Well­ness in the wilder­ness’ by Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional. Cape Town Tourism’s suc­cess in their on­line mar­ket­ing cam­paign has proved that pro­fes­sion­als in the tourism in­dus­try should utilise the global trend of us­ing so­cial me­dia am­bas­sadors and brand in­flu­encers to pro­mote des­ti­na­tions via their so­cial plat­forms. Mil­len­ni­als are now us­ing their feeds to pro­mote travel des­ti­na­tions and life­style as­pi­ra­tions that gen­er­ate mil­lions of fol­low­ers – a trend that is grow­ing and is here to stay.

South Africa is rich in cul­tural and her­itage sites, with no less than eight UNESCO World Her­itage Sites, in­clud­ing the Cra­dle

of Hu­mankind, the Western Cape’s Fyn­bos and Ta­ble Moun­tain, the iSi­man­gal­iso Wetland Park and Robben Is­land. Sport­ing events also at­tract huge in­ter­na­tional crowds and par­tic­i­pa­tors, such as the Cape Ar­gus Cy­cle Race and the Com­rades Marathon. After suc­cess­fully host­ing three World Cup events – the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2003 Cricket World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, sport tourism is one of the fastest grow­ing ar­eas of the global travel and tourism in­dus­try, with 10% of tourists ar­riv­ing in South Africa for sport events.

One com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage to South Africa is that ma­jor cities such as Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town are among the world’s least ex­pen­sive cities for ex­pa­tri­ates, as rated by the Num­beo web­site on Cost of Liv­ing In­dex. The McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute shows that groups of peo­ple within the re­tir­ing and el­derly bracket in the de­vel­oped world are ex­pected to gen­er­ate 19% of global ur­ban con­sump­tion growth at $4.4trn, with es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion grow­ing by more than one-third in num­ber to 222 mil­lion peo­ple by 2030. Those aged 60 and older are pro­jected to grow health­care spend­ing by $1.4trn by 2030. When sum­maris­ing the group’s per capita con­sump­tion per day, it is es­ti­mated at $39 000 per year. South Africa is poised to be the per­fect lo­ca­tion for re­tire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, with English as the Uni­ver­sal lan­guage, low cost of liv­ing and weak Rand against the Dol­lar means re­duced liv­ing costs and max­imis­ing re­tire­ment fund re­turns. Tem­per­ate weather con­di­tions, good pri­vate health­care sys­tems and ex­cel­lent in­fra­struc­ture will be a draw­card to this group. The in­tro­duc­tion of an af­ford­able re­tire­ment tourism sec­tor will be a worth­while in­vest­ment for the tourism in­dus­try, which has tra­di­tion­ally fo­cused on short-term tourist stays. Med­i­cal tourism is an­other segment with great po­ten­tial for South Africa. The African De­vel­op­ment Bank’s ‘Africa Tourism Mon­i­tor Re­port’ re­ports that med­i­cal mi­grants from other African coun­tries to South Africa in­creased from 327 000 in 2006 to over 500 000 in 2009. The cost for med­i­cal pro­ce­dures in South Africa is less ex­pen­sive in com­par­i­son to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and tour op­er­a­tors are now of­fer­ing pack­ages in­clud­ing flights, re­lax­ing itin­er­ar­ies and lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion in com­plete pri­vacy on sa­fari.

The travel in­dus­try is one of the fastest grow­ing eco­nomic sec­tors in the world, and the low­er­ing of travel bar­ri­ers and rising mid­dle class has opened doors to an en­tirely new mar­ket. His­tor­i­cally, the United States and Europe were the big­gest source of trav­ellers, but in fu­ture Africa, Asia and the Mid­dle East are set to have the big­gest growth in this sec­tor. Ac­cord­ing to the De­vel­op­ment Bank of South Africa’s ‘Africa Tourism Mon­i­tor,’ the five most popular African des­ti­na­tions are cur­rently South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tu­nisia and Zim­babwe.

With tourism sup­port­ing one in ev­ery 12 jobs in South Africa and pro­vid­ing a life­line to the econ­omy, the South African Gov­ern­ment has placed it as a pri­or­ity in their plan­ning and pol­icy frame­works. Suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion re­quires a com­mit­ment to in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment (roads, air­ports, pub­lic trans­port) and im­prov­ing bor­der reg­u­la­tions to al­low trav­ellers to move more freely and ef­fi­ciently. Mea­sures in­clude e-visas, re­gional visa schemes and visa waiver pro­grammes be­tween key source mar­kets, and com­bat­ting crime and cor­rup­tion. It will be vital to pro­mote the var­i­ous tourist des­ti­na­tions to the cor­rect tar­get mar­ket, com­bin­ing global trends, and with de­vel­op­ing coun­tries be­com­ing more at­trac­tive for vis­i­tors, South Africa will most cer­tainly be ready to claim a piece of the pie.

About 4.5% of the to­tal work­force, more than are em­ployed in the min­ing sec­tor, are in tourism. For ev­ery R100 pro­duced by the South African econ­omy, R3.10 was as a re­sult of tourism, or 3.1% of the econ­omy. Agri­cul­ture only con­trib­uted R2.40 per R100, so tourism is big­ger than agri­cul­ture. - En­ver Du­miny, CEO, Cape Town Tourism.

Above: The CEO of South African Tourism Mr Sisa Nt­shona, Min­is­ter of Tourism Ms Thokozile Xasa and the Pres­i­dent of South Africa Mr Ja­cob Zuma at the Tourism Indaba in Dur­ban, South Africa re­cently. The plat­form was used to launch I Do Tourism (IDT) – an ini­tia­tive that seeks to re­mind South Africans of the im­por­tance of the tourism in­dus­try and the role they can play as ad­vo­cates for South Africa and for tourism.

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