Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has pushed back against sustained criticism of the country’s tourism marketing by announcing an increase in tourism arrivals of 17% in the first quarter of the year.
Both Germany and the US showed growth of over 15%, and the UK returned to positive growth of 9%.
What he didn’t say was that these numbers were off a low base, with the expected slump in post-World Cup numbers having hit 2011. As predicted by all the grown-up commentators, the net effect of the football fandango on tourism will be neutral.
Van Schalkwyk continues the fiction that the large numbers of people coming in from Africa are tourists. There are many high-value people from Africa starting to travel (we have seen then especially from Nigeria), but the vast majority of entrants are coming for economic reasons, but choose to indicate tourism for ease of entry. We know that this suits the minister’s political needs, but the time has come to end this fantasy.