SA’s Top Tourism Trends

Gillian Saunders of Grant Thornton today addressed the media on the last 20 years of tourism in ZA.   It’s an industry we will always support, because of its contribution to economic growth, to exports and to job creation.   So we were keen to learn how things are going. Here are some of the highlights from a rather jam-packed presentation: 

  • There has been huge growth in tourism in SA.  There were around 14m international arrivals last year

  • There was 15% growth in arrivals in the Soccer World Cup year 2010

  • China is now one of major countries for tourism to ZA: there was nothing 20 years ago

  • The number of hotels has doubled in the 20 years.  Guest house numbers are up three-fold

  • In the 1st decade from 1994, everyone loved CT.  Durban came on more in the 2nd decade, while Jo’burg has seen steady growth

  • Room Rates have steadily gone up in real terms.  Five star hotels really pushed rates up in 2010.  But hotels are a lot better, on average

  • There has been a 5-fold increase in visitors to National Parks over the 20 years

  • As for conference venues…the number has doubled over the same period

  • Casino numbers also doubled.  And most casinos are much larger than they were.  An important tool for tourism

  • The number of luxury coaches more than doubled

  • The car hire fleet more than doubled

  • As for airlines: 21 international airlines flew to ZA in 1993.   Now it is up to 76 international airlines

  • World heritage sites have grown from zero in 1994 to 8 today

  • Employment in tourism has been growing 4.7 percent on average a year

  • The State’s tourism budget is growing, but is small by international comparison.  2013/14 was R856m



Some significant progress is being made, but this sector needs more focus and more support. Not least in terms of boosting service and standards.   We have been horrified by some of the food we have been served recently at some very expensive hotels in Johannesburg. Personally, we would like to see much more coordination between the wine and tourism industries, and are happy to play a role in this, focusing on quality control.

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