Domestic Tourists shun the Eastern Cape

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Despite its vast natural beauty, sun-soaked Indian Ocean beaches and plenty of activities to keep any tourist entertained for months, the number of locals visiting the Eastern Cape has plummeted over the past five years, according to Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Thursday, he said 5.7 million "domestic travellers" visited the province in 2009, while a total of 2.1m did so in 2013 - a drop of more than 60%.

According to a table included with the reply, the number of local visitors has dropped consistently over the five-year period, from 5.7 million in 2009, to 4 million (2010), to 2.8 million (2011), to 2.3 million (2012), to 2.1 million last year.

Hanekom said no data was available for this year.

Photo caption: TOURISTS NOT COMING TO THE EASTERN CAPE... Perusing the programme for the 2014 Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees... Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom (right) with from the left, Paul Marais, chairperson of the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival, chairperson of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency Vuyo Zitumane. Photo courtesy of the 2014 Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees.