This is why tourists love coming to South Africa

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What better way to open the summer holidays than celebrating the resilience of South Africa’s tourism industry in 2022, a comeback that exceeded the tourism sector and even Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s expectations.

South African Tourism hosted an event at Sandton Convention Centre to mark its gains this year on Tuesday evening and launched its new “Gimme that Summer” campaign.

Why travellers love South Africa’s tourism

It’s becoming a well-known fact that South Africans do December differently. Locals are often basking in the sun on our remarkable coastal beaches, partying up a storm with many summer amapiano anthems on the playlist and the catchy slogans on rotation; ‘Ke Dezemba boss’.

South Africa’s tourism department is well aware of that.

Sisulu highlighted that there was an increase in tourism numbers from international and local tourists.

There was a cumulative arrival of 4.3 million people between January to October 2022.

International tourists who travelled in their numbers included the Americas (Canada, America and Mexico) with over 600 000 people, Europe and Australia. The majority of the bookings for the first six months next year are from the Americans, about 86%.

There have been figures that SA’s tourism numbers will reach 2019 levels by 2026. However, through their current numbers, they believe they can reach their goals by next year.

“On the domestic side, we are cruising. Domestic overnight trips from January to September 2022 trips reached 23.9 million trips,” Sisulu said.

As there were plenty of indicators that South Africa’s tourism had bounced back from the Covid-19 pandemic and the reverberation of that, tackling variants, travel restrictions and red lists, Sisulu boldly claimed the pandemic was officially over.

Top contributors to the increased number of travellers were wildlife viewing, restaurants (dining), festivals, events and concerts, the minister revealed.

‘Gimme Summer That’

The campaign is pushing for more local travel, and despite South Africans “saving” tourism through its darkest times, the department has goals to supersede locations such as Mauritius.

More people are realising that travelling within the country can be affordable. About 600 small and medium businesses will be involved in the activation of the summer campaign, creating about 1 600 jobs.

The event beautifully incorporated a night market, that was centred around supporting local businesses, as guests were given R250 each to shop away.

Surprisingly the money went quite far as there were many stalls. From self-care body brands such as Okhule by Bonolo a young entrepreneur selling shea butter body butter, bath salts and the ever-popular coffee scrub, to impressive apparel businesses such as Zookeeper and denim wear from Floyd Avenue.

Easy tips to enjoy SA’s summer:

It’s not just the beach that one can go to enjoy the holiday season. Some of South Africa’s top attractions include enjoying the blossom season and lush greens by simply hiking, and visiting the botanical gardens.

Sandisiwe Mbhele/The Citizen