South Africa

Tourism Tattler - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

The to­tal amount of tourists ar­riv­ing in South Africa went up by about 13% in 2016 to 10,044,163 and the trend con­tin­ues with an all-time high of 1,040,534 tourists (excl. tourists in tran­sit) in Jan­uary of this year, ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics SA. The num­ber of tourists trav­el­ling to South Africa has been in­creas­ing since the strict visa re­stric­tions were eased and the de­val­u­a­tion of its cur­rency. How­ever, South Africa still needs to ad­dress a few chal­lenges to keep the pos­i­tive growth of tourist ar­rivals. A con­tin­u­ing drought, low com­mod­ity prices and weak de­mand from the na­tion's main ex­port part­ners caused South Africa's econ­omy to ex­pe­ri­ence a GDP growth of 0.3% in 2016 (the low­est GDP growth since 2009 re­ces­sion), fol­lowed by a de­cline of 0.7% dur­ing the first quar­ter of this year. The re­moval of deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas and fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han from the gov­ern­ments' Cab­i­net by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in March, re­sulted in the Rand's ex­change rate to drop and Stan­dard & Poor's to down­grade South Africa's in­vest­ment sta­tus to “junk”. The fu­ture of SA's tourism is look­ing promis­ing though as the Rand has re­cently strength­ened again and more than 2500 rooms are ex­pected to be added over the next 5 years, of which a new Radis­son Blu, Radis­son Red, Sun In­ter­na­tional, Mar­riott, Tsogo Sun and Ibis are part of. The World Bank pre­dicts a GDP growth of 1.1% in 2017 and 1.8% for 2018.

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