Data from Statistics South Africa yesterday showed that tourists spend R5.5 billion in accommodation in the second quarter of this year, up 5.6 percent compared to the comparative period last year.
The lion’s share of the money went to hotels, followed by “other” accommodation.
Guesthouses and guest farms received R274 million in the period, while caravan parks and camping sites got R87.4m.
Tourism is one of the sectors flagged by President Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address as having the potential to absorb more people into employment.
He said the tourism sector has the potential to more than double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030.
Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi last week announced visa waivers for four countries in a bid to boost tourism and arrest falling visitor numbers.
The waivers meant that visitors from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand would no longer require a visa to visit for either holiday, conferencing or business purposes.
Darryl Erasmus, the Tourism Grading Council’s chief quality assurance officer, said South Africa’s hospitality standards are far ahead of many other global destinations that he has visited.
“South Africa is really fortunate with owners and operators that ensure the foot we put forward is the best one,” Erasmus said.
“We outperform many destinations by far in terms of quality offerings. And we can attribute it to the long-standing partnerships with our members and the industry at large.”
Currently, tourism employs about 720 000 people directly and a further 1.5 million indirectly, accounting for 4.5 percent of all those employed.
Meanwhile, the stats agency said the volume of goods transported (payload) increased by 5.2 percent in June this year, compared with June last year.
The data shows that income from freight transportation increased 4.4 percent in the second quarter to R41.4bn, with primary mining and quarrying products and manufactured food, beverages and tobacco products accounting for most of the income generated in the period.
South Africa’s total road network, which is the longest road network in Africa, is a major contributor to the local economy.
The SA National Roads Agency network forms the backbone of the country’s transport system for moving 87 percent of all goods in the country.