Stats SA reveals more than 10 million foreign tourists visited SA in 2016

South Africa's tourism numbers have gone up according to Stats SA data which shows that more than 10 million foreign tourists arrived in the country in 2016, up from 8.9 million in 2015.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, CEO, Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) says the increase in tourism numbers is a result of a number of changes to the immigration regulations introduced in 2014, following recommendations by the inter-ministerial committee on immigration regulation, as well as the bio metric regulations which have been reversed.

The biggest thing is that we are seen as a very safe destination.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) CEO

Tshivengwa adds that South Africa is a value for money destination which is what attracts visitors to the country. He says the traditional markets have rebounded and altered their perceptions of South Africa. He also says there are also some new markets making their way to South Africa. Tshivengwa explains that it is important to analyse the numbers contextually.

The number of people coming into the country, do they contribute to the tourism economy or the economy at large?

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) CEO

Tshivengwa adds that it should be evaluated on how and where tourists spend their money, be it on hotels or on attractions.

We are an important sector and we want to continue to create more jobs. It would be nice to create 1 million jobs in the next five years.

Tshifhiwa Tshivengwa, Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) CEO

Tshivengwa says he does worry about the shortcomings of tourism especially in domestic travel. He explains that when an economy doesn't do well domestic tourism becomes heavily impacted.

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