Domestic tourism downturn in South Africa – Spending drops from R104bn to R87bn three years


This is valid for both day trips and overnight travel‚ data showing a three-year comparison‚ collected by Statistics South Africa‚ shows.

The total number of day trips taken decreased from 54‚4 million in 2013 to 48 million in 2014 and to 44‚3 million in 2015.

Overnight trips declined from 50‚8 million in 2013 to 47‚3 million in 2014 and 45‚4 million in 2015.

Almost half of overnight trips were for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives‚ and those undertaking them did not make use of paid accommodation for these trips.

“A visit to friends and relatives was the most popular reason for undertaking overnight trips‚ as approximately 13 million trips were taken for this reason in 2015. For most of these visits‚ travellers did not make use of paid accommodation‚ which had a negative impact in boosting economy and job creation in the tourism sector‚” Statistician-General Pali Lehohla commented.

There was a decline in the total spent on domestic tourism in 2015 after an increase between 2013 and 2014. In total‚ R104 billion was spent on domestic trips in 2013‚ followed by R110 billion spent in 2014 and R87 billion in 2015.

The amount of money that was spent on day trips increased from R35 billion in 2013 to R39 billion in 2014; however‚ in 2015‚ day travellers spent just R25 billion. Total spending on overnight trips increased by nearly R3 billion from 2013 to 2014; however‚ this number decreased to about R62 billion in 2015 (a R9 billion decrease as compared to 2014).

Most money spent in 2013 and 2014 was spent on shopping (with R41 billion and R46 billion‚ respectively). However‚ in 2015‚ travellers reduced their expenditure on shopping to R29 billion.

Expenditure on domestic transport tends to be relatively high when compared to other expenditure items‚ Stats SA’s report noted. Although the item registered a R4 billion decrease in 2015 (from R32 billion in 2014 to R28 billion in 2015)‚ it is still the second highest item after shopping.

Stats SA commented its “findings reflect a general pattern of decline in domestic tourism over the past two years as associated with economic stagnation and re-prioritisation of consumer spending that has taken place in the country during that time”.

The majority of tourists who undertook overnight trips in 2015 stayed up to one week at their destination (82%)‚ followed by those who stayed between one to two weeks (9%).

Between January and December 2015‚ Limpopo was the destination of choice for most domestic tourists‚ with nearly 20% of all trips leading there. They were followed by those who visited Eastern Cape (15‚5%) and KwaZulu-Natal (13‚7%). Northern Cape was the least visited province on overnight trips (4‚8%).

In all provinces except Western Cape‚ the main purpose of taking overnight trips was to visit friends and relatives. Tourists travelled to Western Cape for leisure purposes‚ while visiting friends and relatives was the second most commonly stated purpose to visit this province.

Undertaking travel for religious purposes was most prevalent in Limpopo. Tourists to that province provided that reason as the third most likely motive for visiting Limpopo

The most popular form of accommodation for tourists was staying with friends and relatives (20 million trips)‚ which accounted for close to seventy-five percent of all the trips taken in 2015.

Roughly 1‚4 million trips were undertaken by tourists who utilised self-catering establishments‚ while 956‚000 were accommodated in hotels.

Hotels were used largely by tourists who travelled to KZN (207‚000). At the same time‚ tourists who visited Western Cape on about half a million trips used self-catering establishments.

Most tourists to Limpopo (3‚6 million trips) and Eastern Cape (3‚3 million trips) stayed with friends and relatives compared to trips undertaken to other provinces.

Nationally‚ 86% of the trips were booked independently by tourists‚ while travel agents were used for 7‚7% of overnight trips.

Approximately 39‚9% of leisure trips were booked between two weeks to one month prior to the trip‚ while 21‚7% of overnight leisure trips were booked in less than two weeks before the trip.

See the full report here.

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