According to official statistics recently released by South Africa's tourism minister, Patricia de Lille, nearly 5.7 million travellers will arrive "on the country's shores" in 2022. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recalled this in his weekly address.
According to him, this is an increase of 150 per cent on the previous year. "In absolute numbers, we welcomed just over two million visitors in the first quarter of 2023, more than double the figure for the same period in 2022," said the South African leader.
Ramaphosa added that visitors to South Africa have also started spending more during their visits. He said travellers left more than R25 billion (about $1.23 billion) in the country in the first four months of this year.
This inflow of foreign exchange, "supports, creates jobs and enables new investment in local tourism infrastructure", said the president.
He stressed that the release of these figures during Africa Month was particularly encouraging given that the majority of visitors to South Africa in 2022 (some four million), are from the African continent.
"Given the importance of tourism growth to South Africa's economy, we intend to continue the migration reform process to improve our competitiveness as a tourist destination," he summarised in his weekly message.
For example, he said, South Africa will expand its electronic visa system which is now available to citizens of 14 countries and will be extended to citizens of 20 other countries in the future, as reported by Prensa Latina, a partner of TV BRICS.