South African travellers love travelling to the Eastern Cape

MARCH 3, 2016

According to the inaugural Eastern Cape Annual Tourism Barometer 2015, South African travellers took 3.2 million trips to the Eastern Cape, spending an estimated R3 billion in total direct value in 2014 says the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).

This number was up by 1.2 million trips in comparison to 2013 and means that domestic tourism is on the rise in the Eastern Cape.

MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo explains that “the Eastern Cape now boasts a 1.6 fold increase in domestic tourism to the province or some 1.2 million more tourists.”

The barometer, released today, reports that the Eastern Cape stands in 6th position in terms of domestic travel and in 8th position in terms of international travel.

According to the barometer based on statistics drawn from a variety of sources, the Eastern Cape accounted for 4.4% of South Africa’s 9 549 236 international tourist arrivals in 2014.

Gauteng took the lion’s share, accounting for 49.4% of international arrivals but this is mostly driven by foreign tourists landing in OR Tambo Airport.

All other provinces - the Western Cape (18.6%), Mpumalanga (14.1%), Limpopo (13.0%), KwaZulu-Natal (11.8%), Free State (7.3%) and North West (6.6%) - had greater number of tourist arrivals.

Somyo explains that the barometer will help the province reflect on “these weaker areas of our performance such as access for foreign travellers.”

The 304 888 foreign tourists who visited the Eastern Cape spent an estimated R2.4 billion, about R500 million more than in 2013, and stayed on average 9.5 days. This means that foreign tourists who made the effort to get to the Eastern Cape, put down there roots rather than passing by. Most of the arrivals came from Germany (15.4%), followed by the United Kingdom (14.7%) and United States of America (12.7%).

In terms of bednights sold in the Eastern Cape in 2014, international travellers accounted for 2.8 million bednights, which was a 3.5% share of the national total.

Domestic travellers accounted for 13.1 million bednights sold for an 11.3% share of the national total.

Travel and tourism employed 32 917 people directly in the Eastern Cape in 2014, 5% of the total number of 655 609 nationally.
Travel and tourism contributed R93.3 billion (3%) to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in 2014.

The barometer which gives a detailed and graphic overview of tourism statistics, nationally and provincially, serves as a guideline for the province when developing research focus areas.

“The release of the tourism barometer is to be celebrated as the start to more intelligent decision-making in the tourism industry in the Eastern Cape. Through such intelligence, we can and must do more to promote tourism in the Eastern Cape,” ends Somyo.

The barometer is part of an effort by the department to design a framework for a provincial tourism knowledge, information and data management system.

At present, provincial tourism statistics are sourced from nationally generated data, and some local ad hoc project research. The barometer is one outcome of this new innovative system to better collect, coordinate and manage tourism statistics.