South Africa is Africa’s largest travel & tourism economy – report


TRAVEL and tourism in South Africa contributed 1.5 million jobs and ZAR425.8bn (about $29.7bn) to the economy in 2018, making it the largest tourism economy in Africa, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector released yesterday.

For over 25 years, WTTC, which represents the global private sector of travel and tourism, has compared the travel and tourism sector across 185 countries. The 2018 research shows that the South Africa travel and tourism sector:

  • Contributed ZAR425.8bn to the country’s economy – the largest of any country in Africa. This represents 8.6 percent of all economic activity in South Africa
  • Generated 1.5 million jobs, or 9.2 percent of total employment
  • Was primarily driven by leisure travellers: 64 percent of the travel economy was generated by leisure visitors and 36 percent from business travellers
  • Is roughly balanced between international and domestic travel: 44 percent of the tourism spend came from international travellers and 56 percent from domestic travel

Commenting on the numbers, Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO said: ‘Travel and tourism contributes more to the South Africa economy than in any other African country. In total our sector contributes ZAR425.8bn and 1.5 million jobs which makes it a formidable part of the economy.

‘South Africa has long grasped the potential of travel and tourism to drive economic growth, create jobs and promote social development and I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom. That is why we welcome President Ramaphosa’s ambition to double the number of people directly employed in T&T in South Africa.

‘Looking to the future, I believe that travel and tourism is South Africa’s greatest resource and the country’s strategy for expansion which priorities regional integration, environment sustainability and putting the community at the heart of decisions will make for a successful combination.’



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