Cape Town. Picture: 123RF/KAVRAM
Cape Town. Picture: 123RF/KAVRAM

The number of arrivals and departures for both foreign visitors and South Africans declined year-on-year in July, Stats SA said on Monday. 

Overall foreign travel arrivals have declined by 5% on an annual basis, according to the agency’s latest data on tourism and migration, while both arrivals and departures for South Africans declined by 11.8% and 11.6%, respectively.

The number of tourists from nine of the top 10 countries accounting for the bulk of all overseas tourists to SA in July, declined.

The tourism sector is viewed as key to boosting employment and growing the economy. But the local industry has, in recent years, been battling the effects of controversial immigration regulations, particularly around travel documentation for children, as well as the impact of crime on overseas visitors. 

The top 10 overseas countries — which make up 74% of overseas tourists to SA — are the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia, China, Brazil, India and Belgium. China led the declines, with visitors falling by 21.3%, with only the Netherlands seeing an increase of 6.3%. 

When it comes to Sadc countries, tourists from six of the 10 leading Sadc countries declined year on year namely Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Tourist numbers for the remaining four — Angola, Tanzania, Malawi and Swaziland — increased.

donnellyl@businesslive.co.za