/ 22 July 2009

A million more domestic tourists in 2008

About a million more South Africans toured in their own country in 2008 compared to the previous year, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Wednesday.

”About 46% of the adult South African population travelled in 2008, which represents a figure of about 14-million domestic tourists,” Van Schalkwyk said in Sandton at the release of the South African Tourism domestic travel statistics for 2008.

This was compared to about 13-million domestic tourists in 2007.

”Despite facing tough economic conditions, the South African tourism industry has remained relatively buoyant,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Domestic tourism had returned revenue of R25,8-billion in 2008, a 17% increase compared to the previous year.

Van Schalkwyk said this showed ”healthy growth, especially given that it was achieved under difficult market conditions”.

The average spend per trip increased from R550 in 2007 to R780 in 2008 in nominal terms.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape saw the most domestic tourists, followed closely by Gauteng and the Western Cape.

However, a fewer number of trips were undertaken in 2008 compared to the previous year.

Domestic trips decreased by 8%, with 32,9-million trips being undertaken in comparison to 35,9-million in 2007.

”We have to face these realities, but now that we can quantify the effects of the financial downturn on our tourism industry, we can plan and market better,” Van Schalkwyk said. — Sapa