In July this year the Tourism Minister announced an ‘exceptional growth in tourist arrivals’ for the first quarter of the year.
Between January and March 2 267 807 people landed on South African soil – 216 031 more than the same time in 2011. Overseas tourist arrivals were up by 17.8% and European arrivals grew by 11.9%. Visitors from the United States also grew by 16.1%.
But we’re also getting visitors from emerging markets like Brazil, India and China as well as from Africa, where growth of visitors has increased by 7.9%, and the Asian market, which grew by over 43%.
All this despite a recession.
South Africa is a land people love to visit. And they have good reason.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why People Visit South Africa
1. Plenty of sunshine
By comparison to countries in the northern hemisphere, our winters are relatively mild, and our summers are up there with the best of them.
2. It’s affordable
Other currencies do well here and people can travel for less.
3. Its geographical location
At the tip of Africa. For the same reason, Cape Town is a firm favourite and one of the top destinations for tourists in the world.
4. The beaches
Diverse and wonderful coastline hug both the west and east perimeters of the country. The windswept rugged west coast, past the cold, crisp Atlantic through to the warmer seas of the Indian Ocean – all offer beauty and seaside attractions.
5. The wildlife
The Kruger National Park in the north east of the country is one of the biggest draw cards for tourists, but there are a myriad other game reserves and lodges throughout the country where one can see African wildlife.
6. Wine and food
Our culture of wine is renowned and there are several wine routes scattered throughout the country, wine festivals, wine estates and wine tasting to tempt the connoisseur. But our food culture too has awakened, and an emerging emphasis on local, handmade and organically grown has changed the face of local food markets.
7. The scenery
From the winelands and Cape fold mountains to the African bushveld and the arid Karoo, past the green hills of Natal – there are breathtaking elements everywhere.
8. Outdoor lifestyle
Golf, rugby, soccer, hiking, sky diving and braaivleis; South Africans know how to give visitors a good time.
9. Great accommodation
10. Diversity of culture
From English speaking South Africans to Afrikaans, Tswana, Zulu and Xhosa, the people are as diverse as the languages, and yet they all live in the same country, sometimes only a suburb apart…